Parties continue following matriculants completing their final examinations and while it is great to celebrate, they should do so responsibly.
Incidents, especially among matriculants, increase at this time of year. Incidents include motor vehicle accidents, assault and drowning. Contributing factors include reckless driving and the abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Klaus Milbert, the Skills Development Facilitator and an Advanced Driving Instructor at ER24, said alcohol intake increases among matriculants who are 18 years of age as they are allowed to drink by law.
In addition to the increasing tendency to have alcohol at parties attended by matriculants, concerns have also been raised about the availability of liquor to their underage partners.
The question every teenager should ask themselves is, can their conscience handle someone’s death as a result of their driving?
In addition to speeding, people should never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. People should keep in mind their reaction time to any danger posed on the road is slower while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most vehicle accidents, in which teenagers were the drivers, resulted in major trauma, disability or death.
The reality is if anyone dies while you are behind the wheel, you could face criminal charges. “You may survive but others may not. There were accidents in which drivers, who were drunk or on drugs at the time, did not sustain injuries. However, others involved were killed or disabled,” said Milbert.
Remember that as exciting as driving while underage may seem, you have not been taught how to handle the vehicle in certain situations. That comes with experience and age. In addition to criminal charges your recklessness could also affect your job opportunities in the future. “Killing someone is a terrible feeling to live with. Underage driving can also result in a fine or jail sentence of your legal guardian and a licence denial when you reach the age for application,” said Milbert.
Drowning increases among matric party groups. “There is alcohol and drug usage at these parties. Then a youngster decides to go for a swim. Either they cannot swim or play rough in the pool and drown,” said Milbert.
Youngsters should keep in mind the danger of taking drugs includes overdose and medical conditions such as psychoses, heart and kidney failure. “For that short-term high the possibility could be a long-term disability or a criminal record. It is not worth it. The advent of the combination of the date rape drugs and alcohol are killers,” said Milbert.
If you go to a party or club, remember not to accept drinks from strangers, especially open drinks or drinks in a glass. Do not leave your drinks unattended. Girls should travel in two’s while in a club, including the toilets.
Although you want to go out and have fun, think about the possibility of something going wrong. Youngsters should ensure their parents are aware of where they are going in case of an emergency.
“You need to have a good relationship with your parents. Something could go wrong and parents need to know where to find you. If you are missing they will know where you last were. Also, if there is an emergency at home, parents will know how to get hold of you,” said Milbert.
ER24’s Emergency Contact Centre can be reached 24 hours a day on 084 124.