Prom season is upon us, and this weekend the juniors and seniors of Old Colony Vocational Regional Technical High School will be attending the school social function of the year. While their focus will be mostly on the dresses, suits, food and dancing, the issue of prom safety, specifically drunk driving accidents, will also be on their minds, thanks to a totaled car residing near the school parking lot and a program designed by local groups to promote good decision making on prom night.
On Friday, May 11, the students at Old Colony were invited to take part in a program organized by the Rochester Police Department, AAA, and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Rochester Police Sgt. William Chamberlain has been involved in this program for years.
“For the last ten years or so, we’ve been running different programs that target prom safety and drunk driving accidents. This is the second year in a row we’ve done it this way,” he said.
The information session included a documentary video, shown by Sgt. Chamberlain, on a real drunk driving car accident involving high school students, which included interviews with victims, parents, and the young driver, who is serving a life sentence in prison for the deaths of his friends.
The program also included a PowerPoint slideshow on the dangers of distracted driving by Mary Maguire, the director of Public Relations and Legislative Affairs of AAA. Lawrence Ovien, a Rochester resident and employee of Liberty Mutual Insurance provided the totaled car parked at the school. His presentation was focused on the financial effects of being at fault in a drunk driving accident.
Though prom season is the most popular time for students to become educated about the dangers of drunk driving, their choices don’t end on the morning after the big night.
“We target this particular time of year, but it’s really for all their driving habits. Our point here is to get them to make good decisions at prom and any time they get behind the wheel,” said Sgt. Chamberlain.
By Eric Tripoli