Prom safety tips offered by local advocates

Apr. 26—LIMA — Prom season is in full swing and area agencies have issued reminders to teens about the importance of safety and responsibility while enjoying this rite of passage.

The Lima-Allen County Safe Community Coalition, a group of area safety advocates, wants teens to make wise choices when it comes to operating or riding in a vehicle this prom season. Several high schools have proms approaching this weekend and next throughout Allen County and extra law enforcement will be on site at proms as well as patrolling the roadways.

Shawnee Township Police Chief Rob Kohli, in a prepared statement, said in an effort to reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries his department will utilize funding from a grant that helps with extra staffing during times when people are more likely to be driving unsafely.

"We let people know that we're doing the targeting. We increase saturation during major events like this in which drinking and driving are more common," Kohli said.

The Lima-Allen County Safe Community Coalition offered the following tips to ensure a safe prom experience for teens and parents alike.

TEENS: Pay attention, slow down, stay alert and buckle up.

Prom usually ends around midnight and after-parties can end much later. Make sure you get home before the exhaustion hits or work out a plan with friends to stay the night in a safe place so you won't be driving drowsy.

It is illegal for people under the age of 21 to consume alcohol and it is illegal to drink and drive. Under no circumstances should high-school prom-goers drink alcohol.

PARENTS: Talk to other parents about springing for a chauffeur. Inexperienced teen drivers are already distracted by the excitement of the evening, and knowing they're in the hands of a capable driver will bring you peace of mind and help keep the roads safe.

If your teen is planning to drive to prom, talk to them about safe driving habits and what behavior is expected when he or she is behind the wheel.

Encourage your teen to ask friends to spend the night to keep them off the roads. Provide plenty of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to facilitate a sober night of fun.