High schools across the region, including in Howard County, are conducting demonstrations this week to educate teens about the danger of drinking and driving.
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Alcohol awareness has been a focus this prom season. On Monday, students from Liberty High School in Eldersburg went to the Sykesville Driver Training Facility and, donning glasses designed to simulate drunkenness, got behind the wheel.
“That was crazy,” one teen said. “I don’t think I’ll ever drink and drive.”
The event was organized by The Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Sykesville Driver Training Facility.
Howard County students will re-enact a drunk driving accident Wednesday at Glenelg High School, which will hold its prom and after prom on April 28 and 29.
For the event, members of the Glenelg Safe Prom Committee and a number of students acting as victims will enact a fatal car collision.
Wrecked vehicles will be part of the scene, and Howard County police and EMS squads will also be a part of the re-enactment, designed to “demonstrate the likely end results when students make bad choices involving alcohol and driving,” according to a press release.
Also, on Monday, Howard County police announced a “Courtesy on the Road Day.”
Courtesy on the Road is a grassroots organization that gave out gas card incentives when teens were seen driving courteously, according to a press release.
Alcohol is the biggest concern for Howard County police officials on prom night, said Howard County Police Department Deputy Chief for Operations Maj. Gary Gardner.
“Many of the officers are parents--we hear things from our own children about things that are going on, parties that are planned by others without parents’ knowledge,” Gardner said. "We know things occur, and what we’re trying to do is prepare students so they make good choices.”
Both drinking and driving, and texting and driving on prom night are a concern, he said.
And the onus isn’t just on schools and the police to deal with it, he said.
Parents should come up with a plan for their children to be able to call home if they are in an unsafe situation, he said.
"It’s important for each parent to realize it’s their responsibility also, and provide a plan for their kids, and ask questions, and find out who and what they are doing after [prom],” he said.