The scene was gruesome. As a group of high school students looked on, a lifeless teenage girl lay across the hood of a demolished car, somberly clothed in a blood spattered prom dress. A few yards away, her visibly intoxicated date attempted to answer questions posed by first responders. Eventually the bell rang, releasing school for the day. Suddenly, the lifeless girl sprung back to life, walking away safe and sound. For hundreds of juniors and seniors at a Chicago area high school, this scene, as part of “Operation Prom Night,” provided a chance for students to witness a simulated drunk driving fatality, and graphically portrayed the consequences that come with diving while intoxicated.
Thousands of local high school seniors are getting ready for prom, and graduation is just around the corner. While it’s perfectly natural for them to want to celebrate taking the next step, whatever it may be, our lawyers would like to echo the message of Operation Prom Night, and remind our readers that they need not put themselves in danger just to have a good time. “Prom is supposed to be one of the highlights of a teen’s high school years,” said a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee, “these simulated accidents can be gory, but it can’t hurt to make kids aware that fatal accidents don’t just happen to other people.” Driving fatalities are already the leading cause of death among United States teens, and nearly 300,000 drivers between the ages of 16-19 were treated for serious injuries last year. Once alcohol is added to the equation things can get really dangerous. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Chicago Tribune)
In more than 20 years of handling Chicago car accident cases, our lawyers are acutely aware of the grim reality behind simulated accidents like this. When the accident is real, no bell frees the victim from their injured state, and there is no getting up and walking away. When it’s real, so are the consequences. In 2010, we represented the family of a young woman, who was killed after being involved in a Kane County trucking accident. Because of a single person’s choice to get behind the wheel of his truck while under the influence, a family had to experience the pain of having their beloved mother and wife taken away from them.
A lot of teenagers feel that they are invincible, or that “a drunk driving accident could never happen to me.” Our attorneys know that drunk driving accidents can and do happen everyday, and when they hit close to home it can devastate entire families, and even communities. If you are celebrating prom night, we implore you to do so responsibly, and watch out for your friends. By being smart, you can do a great deal to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.