Prom Curfew May Mean Boon For Georgia Operators

Posted on May 6, 2002 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

Last year Georgia's Legislature imposed a year-round curfew barring anyone under 18 from driving after midnight. And police say prom gowns and rented tuxedos will not get youngsters off the hook if they get stopped. This means an added selling tool for area operators.

Children violating curfew can face up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. However, most drivers get just a warning or a smaller fine. Some teen-agers say the fear of punishment will not stop the traditional all-night partying. This bodes well for operators.

Many schools are starting proms earlier and canceling after-dance activities so teens will be off the roads by 11:59 p.m.

"We're planning on really ending around 11:30 p.m., so those that need to leave can get out and leave," said Sarah Chhablani, prom supervisor for North Atlanta High School.

Thirty-six states restrict late-night driving by teens. The ages and hours vary with 9 p.m. curfews for the newest drivers in parts of New York and North Carolina among the strictest.

"I think that prom night is not the night to have an exemption," said Penny Wells, national executive director of Students Against Destructive Decisions, which used to be called Students Against Drunk Driving. "It's such a high-risk time anyway. It would probably be the last night that there should be an exemption."

A rash of heavily publicized teen auto deaths in the metro Atlanta area sparked Georgia?s law.

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