As prom season is upon us, the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services are encouraging teens to drive safe.
P.R.O.M., or Please Return on Monday in the same condition you left, is a campaign by the MDRS urging drivers to play it safe this prom season. MHP is also reminding teen drivers how important it is to stay focused when behind the wheel.
"One of the most awful things we hate to do or don't want to do this prom season is knock on that door and tell the parents that their child is not coming home due to a fatal crash," Corporal Travis Luck said.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Luck said some of these accidents can be prevented.
"That being, distracted driving is one of the most important," Luck said. "Cell phones and other electronic devices are being used more and more each and every day. We ask that drivers put them down."
The risk of car crashes is higher among 16-19 year olds compared to any other age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Luck said MHP is encouraging all prom goers to use good judgment.
"Good choices come with prom goers having other occupants in the vehicle," Luck said. "We ask that you get to the places safely and enjoy the prom."
Stay focused, avoid distracted driving and buckle up. Of teens ages 16-19 who lost their lives in car wrecks in 2016, the CDC said at least 48 percent of those victims were not buckled up at the time of the accident.
The CDC points out research indicates seat belts do reduce serious crash related injuries and death by nearly half.
"They need to take it very seriously because the outcome of making bad choices is never good," Luck said.
Click here to learn more about the PROM campaign.