Helping High School Students Have a Fun, Safe Prom Season

Guest Blog by Directed Patrol Officer Chris Mahon

The Auburn Hills Police Department’s, Directed Patrol Unit and School Resource Officer Bryan Chubb worked in conjunction with the Avondale High School on 05/05/2015 to promote safe driving during prom season and throughout the rest of the year. The focus was to educate students about the dangers of drinking and driving as well as distracted driving. Officers teamed up with AAA Insurance Company who provided a driving simulator for use during this safe driving campaign.

Students had a chance to try the simulator safety program during their lunch hour. We discussed safe driving with the students to promote a safe prom season and we distributed several handouts for the students including the texting and driving law, tips for prom night safety, distracted driving, drowsy driving and 10 tips for teen safety on the road during prom season.

We had each student participate in driving the simulator if they wanted to. There were two programs that were used: Impaired Driving and Distracted Driving. In the impaired driving course, students put on a pair of goggles that simulated a blood alcohol content of .06%-.20%.  State law puts the drunk driving threshold at .08% which means that everyone is impaired when their blood alcohol content is above that so if you drive with a .08% blood alcohol content you are in violation.  Students were then asked to drive the course. The distracted driving course focused on texting while driving. Students were given an opportunity to complete both courses. Many students were amazed at how quick an accident can occur when you are distracted or impaired.

70 students took part in the safety program throughout the day. We received positive feedback from the students who were having fun but also learned a serious lesson about driving.

We have partnered with local hotels providing prom information for all the area schools. We ask the hotels to be alert to the possibility of unsupervised parties and contact us if they suspect a room is a party location.  It is our experience that this type of party has high potential for situations of deaths from alcohol poisoning, sexual assaults, property damage, and other incidents that can turn what could be a fun time of life into an ongoing nightmare.

We all want students to have a memorable prom but in a safe manner.

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.