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Risky business on prom night

Published 9:53pm Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tonight, seniors at Nansemond River and King’s Fork high schools will kick up their heels at the prom.

A Night In Paris is the theme for Nansemond River, so one could expect parasols, spiffy suits and feather boas.

King’s Fork seniors will be expected to turn up in rock star outfits and bling for A Night at the Grammys.

What authorities expect is the heightened possibility of injury and death as a result of high-risk behavior behind the wheel.

You can find justification for their concerns by Googling “prom car wreck.” Click through the pages of results and you’ll find masses of stories about prom-goers getting killed and maimed, often as a result of drunken driving.

Something else you’ll find is a plethora of faux DUI wrecks. For various schools nationwide, they are a tradition reserved for the day before prom, with the idea of instilling an important message right before the red carpet is unfurled.

I challenge any reader who is a high school graduate to not have some recollection of drinking on prom night, if not by themselves, then by others.

It’s almost a given that booze will be smuggled. “You’re only young once,” they’ll say. Let’s just hope it won’t be the last time they say it.

Having seen the results of many, I can say that car wrecks are awful, violent things. When a piece of metal goes from 70 to zero miles an hour in an instant, the flesh and bone inside doesn’t stand much chance.

Nansemond River held its mock DUI car wreck Thursday, accompanied by some straight talk from the city’s senior law-enforcement representatives.

Some kids in the auditorium probably didn’t pay much attention to what was said, judging by the disruption.

Seniors are obviously in an excitable state as they contemplate the summer ahead and not having to return to the classroom afterward.

They’ll hang out with friends, go to the beach, go to the movies and sleep late. They’ll probably never be so carefree again.

But there’s always a lot to care about.

Big news last week was that the National Transportation Safety Board wants states to lower the legal blood alcohol content to .05 percent. Virginia’s is currently .08 percent.

The board recommendation is already the legal limit in most countries, and I’d like to know how many perish here as a result of drivers with blood alcohol contents above .05 but still within the law.

Suffolk drivers under 21 should remember their legal limit is .02, which effectively equates to none. That should especially be the message tonight.

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