Washington, DC — Today The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, revealed that 705 youths under the age of 21 died in alcohol-related traffic fatalities nationwide during Prom and Graduation Season (April, May, June 2003), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — stark evidence that Prom and Graduation season is a particularly dangerous time for our nation’s youth. Unfortunately, a survey commissioned by The Council revealed that 65% of teens obtain the alcohol they drink from family and friends — meaning they get alcohol from parents, friends’ parents, siblings, or older friends — with or without permission. The good news, however, is that among 10-18 year olds, 65% cite parents as the leading influence for them not to drink. Parents should feel empowered to wield that influence by taking an active role in communicating with their teens about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking, particularly during prom and graduation season. Fortunately, the number of youths under 21 killed in alcohol-related traffic fatalities nationwide has decreased by nearly 3% from 2002 to 2003. The Century Council applauds the efforts of our elected leaders, law enforcement, community organizations, parents and teens to continue to take an active role in fighting drunk driving and underage drinking to lower, and eventually eradicate, the number of these unnecessary fatalities. “Prom and graduation season is here again. This is a time for celebration,” says Susan Molinari, Chairman of The Century Council. “Too often, however, one bad decision can result in a tragedy for not only a young person, but their family, friends and an entire community. It is no secret that some of our youth under the age of 21 are making the unfortunate and illegal decision to drink. It’s my hope that parents and youth alike will take the initiative to encourage their children and friends to make the responsible decision not to drink alcohol during this happy time of year. 2005 marks the 6th annual recognition of National Prom Graduation Safety Months. The Century Council recognizes these months by implementing a multifaceted campaign designed to heighten awareness among parents, community leaders and educators to prevent drunk driving and underage drinking. Prom Graduation Safety Month Proclamations: The Council is encouraging governors across the nation to declare April, May, and June National Prom Graduation Safety Months by issuing proclamations in their states and conducting awareness campaigns during this critical time; Engaging retailers and community leaders to prevent underage purchasing: The Council is aggressively implementing its “Are You Doing Your Part?” — 65% Campaign based on recent survey data stating that 65% of youth obtain the alcohol they drink from their family and friends. The 65% campaign encourages parents to play a more active role in keeping alcohol out of the hands of teens through a 30-second Public Service Announcement, buttons and informational cards that provide tips for parents on how to talk with their kids about alcohol. To further raise awareness of the importance of parental communication about alcohol, The Council will continue to host local events, which brings together retailers, wholesalers, and community leaders across the country including Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, Texas, and Arizona; Talking to High Schools Students About the Dangers of Underage Drinking: Another program developed by The Century Council, Brandon Tells His Story, features a young man who at the age of 17 missed his high school prom as the result of a near fatal alcohol-related car crash. Spending 3 months in a coma and several years in rehabilitation, he suffers the long-term effects of one bad decision — the decision to illegally consume alcohol and drive drunk. Brandon Silveria travels to high schools across the country to spread his important message, “Make the Right Choice.” Events are also scheduled throughout April, May and June nationwide, including Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Georgia, Hawaii, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Virginia; Using the web to providing guidance to our nation’s parents: The Century Council has also created a website where parents can find tips on how to keep their children safe on prom night. To find these tips, parents visit www.promtips.org. The Council is also distributing an e-card to encourage parents and children alike to make responsible decisions about alcohol during this critical time of the year. Celebrating more than 10 years in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking, The Century Council’s funding companies, Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine North America, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., Brown-Forman, Constellation Brands, Inc., Cruzan, Ltd., DIAGEO, Future Brands LLC, Hood River Distillers, Inc., Pernod Ricard USA, and Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc. have invested more than $150 million in educational and outreach programs. Ask, Listen, Learn®: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix, “Brandon Tells His Story,” Blood Alcohol Educator®, Point of Sale Campaign, Alcohol 101 Plus® and Cops in Shops® are among The Council’s programs created to educate middle-school through college students, their parents, teachers, and adult caregivers about the importance of making responsible decisions regarding beverage alcohol. Launched in 1991, The Century Council is funded by America's leading distillers. The Council's mission is to promote responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol and discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement and other programs. For more information on the Council, log onto www.centurycouncil.org.
The Century Council
The Century Council