Caution for Prom Season

Newly released figures show that last year the number of traffic fatalities hit a record low.

Taking into account the amount of miles traveled, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the number of traffic fatalities last year was at the lowest level it has been since 1954.

Local law enforcement want to keep it this way. That's why, with prom season here, they are offering words of warning.

With decorations ready to go, Clarkdale School and law enforcement officials want to make sure students and others like them are prepared for prom-related pressures they could face, such as drinking.

"We are concerned that they are safe the entire evening. Before they come and after they leave," said Clarkdale principal Cheryl Thomas.

That's why Thomas says some parents are sponsoring before and after parties for students.

"We have a few different after parties this year, and basically, it's just a place to go after prom and hang out," said senior Cory Roberson.

Clarkdale senior Duanika Emerson agrees that providing activities can help young people stay out of trouble.

When it comes to proms, one of the biggest concerns among many is underage drinking and the consequences that come with it.

"There's a million injuries every year due to drinking and driving," said Brenda Viverette of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "There's thousands and thousands, over 17,000 people a year, are killed due to drinking and driving. This is a crime that can be stopped just by planning ahead and deciding not to drink or not to drink and drive."

"In the state of Mississippi, a person under the age of 21 can't have a blood alcohol level above .02," said Sheriff Billy Sollie. "So, one beer, one mixed drink, would actually put a person in that first hour above the limit of safely operating a motor vehicle."

When it comes to drinking, teens are being reminded that, by law, it's illegal to drink alcohol if you are under 21.

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