Friday, May 09, 2014

America's High-Seeking Culture: Prom Night Alert

Although prom night should be an enchanted memory lasting a lifetime, for many it becomes a night of trauma and loss of life.

Despite America’s under the influence culture, being high on prom night is never an acceptable rite of passage, especially when combined with driving-a toxic combination.

As I drove past Millburn High School in New Jersey this week there was a sobering reminder of a prom night tragedy. A wrecked Mustang sedan was on the lawn at the main entrance of school property.

School officials hope it will remind students and parents of the serious repercussion of irresponsibility.

Similar wrecked vehicle exhibits can be observed at schools nationwide during prom season when lives are lost due to our high society absurdity.

Aside from grim news reports of vehicle fatalities, there are other prom season afflictions including date rape, sexual assaults, unintended pregnancies or STD’s.

Prom Safety
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promotes prom safety including:

•Just say no to drinking and driving which is responsible for over 4,500 deaths among young people per year.
•Do not get into vehicles with drivers under the influence.
•Dating violence-verbal, emotional, physical or sexual-is never acceptable. Speak up and report abuse.
•Prom parties deserve responsible supervision-free of alcohol and drugs. Trusted family members should always know where students are and respond immediately should the need arise.

Tragedy to DWI Prevention Champion
On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, I attended the 25th Anniversary of Life Dinner in honor of Steven Benvenisti, Esq. in Washington Township, New Jersey. The event-attended by 300 friends, family and students, commemorated Steven’s miraculous escape from death after being struck as a pedestrian by a drunk driver while he was on spring break as a college student.

Steven told his story.
“Six weeks before graduation, I went to Daytona Beach, Florida with my fraternity brothers for Spring Break. One night while we were walking, a repeat offender drunk driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into my legs, with my face smashing through the outside windshield and my body being thrown 70 feet. I sustained catastrophic injuries including:

•Severe brain damage
•Comatose for 10 days
•Crushed lower legs
•Fractured clavicle
•Significant loss of blood requiring transfusions
•Horrible open flesh wounds necessitating emergency skin grafting

“My family was asked permission for organ donation because the severe brain damage, brain bleeding and swelling, meant survival was not likely and if I did survive, that I would be completely and totally disabled.”

Steven dispelled all odds through sheer determination and went on to graduate law school, raise a family and become a certified Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

He shows his appreciation for life by representing personal injury victims and educating students on impaired driving dangers and traumatic brain injury. Steven has addressed tens of thousands of students during the last 25 years, turning his adversity to triumph by empowering them to say “no” to drinking and driving.

Final Reflection
Tragic prom night headlines are rampant due to America’s under the influence society. But these tragedies are preventable by empowering youth to say no and encouraging them to lives of character through example, vigilance and guidance.

As published in Vincent's weekly column for the Epoch Times on Friday, May 9, 2014.

1.Mustang wreck on the lawn at the entrance of Millburn High School, New Jersey reminding students during prom season of the dangers of driving under the influence. May 5, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
2. Attendees at the “25th Anniversary of Life Dinner” of Steven Benvenisti, Esq. on March 25, 2014 at Seasons in Washington Township, New Jersey. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. PowerPoint slide from Steven Benvenisti’s “25th Anniversary of Life Dinner” PowerPoint presentation on March 25, 2014 at Seasons in Washington Township, New Jersey. (Vincent J. Bove)

Note Well: A more comprehensive version of this blog and Epoch Times column, including "Vital Signs: Drinking and Driving Among High School Students", "Dating Violence" and "Warning Signs of Teen Substance Use" was published in The New Jersey Police Chiefs Magazine, June 2014 edition.

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