Prom. The word surely evokes memories of high school, of corsages and boutonnieres, of impending graduation, and of pictures and proud parents.
The annual rite of passage for high school students, currently under way throughout Michigan and the rest of the country, sees students dressed in expensive gowns and rented tuxedos and arriving at country clubs and other swanky venues.
Some teens will hit festivities prior to prom and many more head to after-prom parties at hotels and homes, gatherings that often involve alcohol. Too often teens make bad decisions related to drinking and driving that land them in the emergency room or jail.
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States.
In 2015, 1,886 people ages 16-20 died in motor vehicle accidents, or approximtely five teens dying in accidents every day. Teenagers actually drive less often than all age groups, except for the oldest group of drivers, but the fatal crash rate for ages 16-19 is three times higher than drivers 20 and older.
While there are a number of situations that teens find themselves behind the wheel one special occasion rises above all others when it comes to teenage driving antics, and that is prom night.
- What Should Teens, Parents Know About Driving on Prom Night?
- Are Younger Drivers More Likely to be Distracted and Dangerous?
- Statistics About Drinking and Driving During Prom?
- Drunk Driving Statistics & Underage Drinking Facts
- Other Important Underage Drinking Statistics
What Should Teens, Parents Know About Driving on Prom Night?
Accidents can happen at any moment for teen drivers, but there are certain times the chances of being involved in an accident are higher than others. For example, driving at night is more dangerous than during the day.
The rate of nighttime fatal crash involvements in 2008 was almost four times higher for male drivers ages 16-19 than for male drivers ages 30-59, and for young females the rate was three times higher.
The weekends are also more dangerous for teen drivers.
Out of all vehicle deaths involving a teenager, 54 percent occurred on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Prom is a popular event that occurs on the weekend and at night. In 2013, 27 percent of fatal teen motor vehicle accidents occurred in April, May, and June -- the peak of prom season, accounting for the deaths of 676 teenagers. This underscores the dangers of the prom season.
Are Younger Drivers More Likely to be Distracted and Dangerous?
Younger drivers with less experience are worse at recognizing and responding to dangerous situations, like speeding and tailgating, compared to older drivers.
Teens also engage in activities that increase their risk of danger, according to multiple studies. Three of the most common distractions include:
Passengers: One of the primary distractions teens face is the presence of other teens. The risk of crashing is reportedly three to five times higher when there are multiple passengers in vehicles driven by teenagers. Other teens create distractions by playing loud music, talking, being rowdy, and pressuring the driver to take more risks. It is common for teenagers to drive to prom in groups significantly increasing their risk of crashing.
Cell Phones: Cell phone use is another distraction that takes the driver's eyes off of the road and puts the occupants of the vehicle in danger. A survey taken in 2014 revealed that around 41.4 percent of high school students admitted to texting or e-mailing while driving in the past 30 days, and that number has certainly increased in the past couple years. Many teenagers connect and communicate on prom night by texting, taking pictures, or posting to social media. For the safety of the driver and passengers, cell phones should never be used while driving. Calling and driving is not illegal is Michigan, though it is obviously not recommended. Texting while driving is illegal.
Driving Under the Influence: One of the most dangerous activities a teenage driver can take part in is driving under the influence. Young drivers are 17 times more likely to die in a car accident when they have a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit than when they have not been drinking. Also, in a survey of high school seniors 1 in 8 reported smoking marijuana before driving in the last two weeks this rate is higher than those who reported drinking alcohol before driving. Driving under the influence of drugs is also dangerous and illegal. Driving while under the influence of drugs can slow down reaction time, alter perception, and lead to higher risk of accidents.
Statistics About Drinking and Driving During Prom
There are a plethora of disturbing statistics about prom-goers and their attitudes about drinking and driving on prom night. Below are a handful of frightning statistics:
- Approximately 14 percent of teens say their parents have hosted teen gatherings with alcohol.
- Approximately 36 percent of teens said their parents have allowed them to attend parties where alcohol was present and available.
- Approximately 54 percent of students drink more than four drinks on prom night.
- More than 90 percent of teens believe their fellow classmates will likely drink and drive on prom night.
- Only 29 percent of teens believe that driving on prom night comes with a high degree of danger.
Drunk Driving Statistics & Underage Drinking Facts
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the numbers regarding underage alcohol use are alarming.
- Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.
- Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.
- High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school.
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver.
- More than 40% of all 10th graders drink alcohol.
- About one in seven teens binge drinks, yet only one in 100 parents believe his or her teen binge drinks.
Other Important Underage Drinking Statistics
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reported that in 2012, 54 percent of the deaths of teenage passengers in passenger vehicles occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 14 percent occurred when a teenager was driving.
According to AAA, researchers have found that fatal crash rates for 16 to 19 year olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers or present versus when teens drive alone.
A study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (of which Buckfire Law is a member) found that teen driver deaths increased in 2012. Preliminary data in the study indicated deaths of 16 and 17 year old drivers was up 19% for the first six months of 2012.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the months from April through July see some of the highest teenage traffic fatalities of the entire year.
According to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter involve an underage drinking driver.
Michigan Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Despite all of the publicity and warnings about the dangers of drunk driving, there are still staggering numbers of accidents every year in Michigan caused by drunk drivers. The Michigan chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that in 2013, there were:
- 215 Drunk driving fatalities (.08 BAC or higher) which accounted for 23.9 % of all total traffic deaths
- 4,633 Alcohol related crash injuries
- 8,892 Alcohol related crashes
- DUI arrests: 34,393.
- DUI convictions: 16,470
The statistics do not include information about the serious injuries caused by drunk drivers in non-fatal accidents. These injuries are often catastrophic and include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, orthopedic injuries, and other serious injuries. Victims also suffer psychological trauma from being hit by a drunk driver.
What Are The Damages in a Fatal Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit?
In fatal drunk driving accident cases, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases seek damages for conscious pain and suffering of the victim from the time of accident until death, the loss of society and companionship of surviving family members, loss of income and support, and other economic damages.
The lawsuit can be brought by a family member of the decedent and is filed on behalf of the entire family. The person bringing the suit is appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate for the purposes of filing the case, but all family members have rights in the suit.
The parties need a judge to approve the settlement and the amount of the settlement shares for each family member. Family members who do not agree with the settlement or their shares of it can appear at the court hearing and object. The judge may then hold a hearing to determine the fair distribution of the shares to each person.
Free Michigan Drunk Driver Accident Book
To learn more about your legal rights after a Michigan drunk driving accident, you should order our free book, The Michigan Drunk Driving Accident Handbook" by Michigan lawyer Lawrence J. Buckfire.
The book explains all of your legal rights and responsibilities after the accident. Our book sells for $14.95 on Amazon but Lawrence will send it to you for free.
Statute of Limitations in Michigan Drunk Driver Accident Cases
There are strict time limitations for filing drunk driving accident claims and No-Fault Insurance claims in Michigan. If you miss a deadline, your claim will be lost forever. To avoid this severe consequence, you should contact the Michigan drunk driver accident attorneys at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. immediately.
Best Michigan Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Our legal team includes the most successful drunk driving accident attorneys in Michigan. Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. and our lawyers have won the top awards in the legal profession, including:
- U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms
- "Best Michigan Personal Injury Attorney" by American Lawyer Academy
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Michigan Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer No Fee Promise
Our Michigan car accident lawyers will represent you in your case under our no-fee promise. This means that you will not be charged any legal fees whatsoever unless we obtain a settlement or recovery for you.
You have absolutely no obligation for legal fees unless we win your case. If we do not obtain a settlement for you, you owe us nothing.
Contact Your Michigan Drunk Driver Accident Lawyers
Call us now: (248) 569-4646. Our attorneys and investigators will start working on your case immediately and begin gathering the witness statements and evidence to prove and win your case.
Warning: There are strict time deadlines for suing drunk drivers and the bars that served them alcohol before the accident. Call our accident injury lawyers now to file your lawsuit and get your settlment.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports. February 19, 2017.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Teenagers: Fatality Facts. February 2016.
- Insurance Information Institute. Teen Drivers. February 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teen Drinking and Driving: A Dangerous Mix. October 2012.
- Office of National Drug Control Policy. Teen Drugged Driving.