Potential Dangers of Prom Season

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Spring semester is a time of celebration for high school students. Seniors are preparing to graduate. Everyone is planning their summer activities, and of course, there is the prom.

With safety in mind, Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie and Maj. Ward Calhoun delivered an important message to Meridian High Students: during this prom season, don't drink and drive.

"Bottom line, we want to prevent deaths and injuries," said Calhoun. "And if we can do that by talking with these young people, giving them some information, giving them some knowledge, causing them to think about what decisions they make, then we feel like we are helping prevent instead of just reacting to a problem in our community."

Calhoun demonstrated how a person would act if they were intoxicated. By using specially-designed goggles, which simulate a blood alcohol level of .01, students were asked to perform simple tasks such as shooting a basketball. After shooting four out of five "sober," that number dropped to zero out of five wearing the goggles.

"Through some of the things they do, they can see how silly someone can look when they are under the influence and how their ability to react and do simple tasks such as shooting a basketball or walking a line," said Calhoun.

Accidents involving young people under the age of 21 typically increase around this time of year, and when it involves alcohol, the results are never good. For those parents who may be considering providing alcohol to their teenager and friends on prom night, Sollie says you should know that you can be held liable if an accident happens.

"Any time you have the opportunity for children, young people, to get together, you have an increased opportunity for someone to provide alcohol and someone to make a poor decision and drink and drive," said Sheriff Billy Sollie.

Officials say even if you are not the one driving, if you choose to ride with someone who has been drinking, you are still putting your life on the line.