You know the old schoolyard chant, "No more homework, no more books. No more teachers' dirty looks ..."
Yes, school will soon be out for summer. In Columbiana County, high school graduations started last weekend with Columbiana and American Spirit Academy in East Liverpool. The rest of our county schools will be holding their commencement exercises over the weekend, followed by several nearby Mahoning County schools the next weekend.
While most students will be celebrating this new-found freedom that comes with the lack of structured schedules of school, homework, sports and other activities, parents must be extra vigilant to make sure that teenagers don't turn to drugs and alcohol to fill all of this extra time on their hands.
The number of drunk-driving fatalities involving teenagers during this time of year has declined recently, perhaps due to the widespread anti-alcohol publicity campaigns in the media. However, graduation season remains one of the most dangerous times on our nation's roadways for teenagers.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group. In 2009, eight teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.
Among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes, 33 percent of the drivers who were killed had been drinking and 28 percent who were killed in crashes had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.
So parents, before your teens head out to those graduation parties this weekend and for the next two weeks, make sure you have the "no drinking and driving" talk with them.
And teens, think about all of the tomorrows you have ahead of you. Don't spoil them by killing yourself or your friends, or severely injuring yourself or someone else in a drunk-driving accident. You have too bright of a future ahead of you to jeopardize it with one night of foolishness.