Commit to be safe

Published 10:08 pm Monday, May 15, 2017

High school prom season is upon us. Dresses have been bought, tuxedos rented and flowers ordered. And, in some cases, parties have been planned.

With an eye toward that last item of preparation, the Suffolk Police Department, Suffolk Sheriff’s office and Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office are getting around to the city’s high schools with an important message: Don’t drink and drive.

It’s a message we desperately hope that students will heed, whether it’s prom night, graduation night or just Friday night.

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There may be no more heartbreaking story for a newspaper to have to publish than one that details the death of a teenager who was driving under the influence of alcohol — or as a result of someone else’s decision to do likewise.

The suffering left in the wake of such an incident is hard for teens to understand. It’s the kind of suffering that can destroy the lives of parents and other loved ones left to mourn the loss, those who will forever be left wondering over the lost potential in those lives extinguished all too soon.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 10 teens drinks and drives. And CDC statistics show that drivers from 16 to 20 years of age are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent than when they have not been drinking.

We hope these are — quite literally — sobering statistics for teens in Suffolk.

Make a commitment this prom season to celebrate without drinking, and if you’re out with someone who has been drinking, find another ride home. It might seem like an embarrassing situation, but it’s far better to be safe than to take the chance of putting yourself and your family through the misery that can follow a drunken driving accident.