The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office and the La Porte County DUI Task Force are announcing that it will be increasing enforcement and patrols around prom and post-prom sites this spring. The goal is to deter alcohol use and eliminate alcohol related crashes among La Porte County high school prom attendees.

Proms in La Porte County will begin Saturday, April 21st and conclude May 18th. Between these dates, South Central, Westville, La Crosse, New Prairie, Michigan City, La Porte, Marquette and La Lumiere will all conduct proms. The Sheriff’s Office and DUI Task Force will saturate the areas around each prom and post-prom site in an effort to deter potential alcohol and drug use. The Sheriff’s Office maintains a zero tolerance towards the consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages by minors. Those others who provide alcohol to minors will be targeted and jailed as well.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the Centers for Disease Control say that teens are more likely than anyone else to be killed in an alcohol-related crash. In 2016, almost one out of five teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes had consumed alcohol. Data shows that 16 percent of 15 to 18 year old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had consumed alcohol. NHTSA also reports that in 2016, 818 teen (15 to 18 year old) drivers and 569 passengers died in vehicles being driven by teen drivers. Of those passengers, 58 percent were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the fatal crash.

“Prom is the most dangerous night of the year for teenagers”, states La Porte County Sheriff John T. Boyd. “It is not only a dangerous time for teenagers but also a dangerous time for anyone who is driving. Our goal is to make the season safe, enjoyable and memorable for all.”

The Sheriff’s Office and La Porte County DUI Task Force have several suggestions for parents that may help their child remain safe at their prom:

Parents should take an inventory of alcohol in their home and secure it if necessary.

Parents should not rent hotel rooms for prom-goers.

Parents should make a pact with their children to provide a safe ride.

Parents should ensure that their children take their cellular telephone with them and require them to check in throughout the evening.

Parents should discuss their children’s plans in advance of the prom so the exact plans are known ahead of time.

Prom-goers should have an agenda and their parents should require them to adhere to it.

Parents should know their child’s date before the prom and with whom they will be attending, if double-dating.

Parents should exchange telephone numbers with the parents of their child’s date.

Parents should consider hosting an alcohol-free post prom party in which their child’s friends are welcome to spend the night.

Parents need to understand that alcohol is a drug, is not acceptable and illegal for those under the age of 21.

Parents should stay up for their children’s return home and advise them they will be waiting.

Sheriff Boyd added, “We are pleased that for fifteen (15) consecutive years no La Porte County prom attendee has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash and our goal remains the same. Our increased enforcement efforts will be an indication that we want La Porte County youth to be safe and to enjoy their prom. We wish for prom-goers to create pleasant and cherished memories; not memories of tragedy.”