Graduates to Get One More Lesson: No Drunk Driving

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Times Staff Writer

The California Highway Patrol and the Orange County Department of Education are warning parents to keep their children sober during high school graduation parties.

Each school district will send letters to parents of the county’s 23,000 graduating high school students a few days before graduation warning them about the number of teen-agers who die or are injured in drunk driving-related accidents.

“Sober Graduation,” a CHP program begun last year, is intended to reduce car accidents during May and June by “letting (students) know that a lot of kids die” after graduation parties, said CHP public information officer Mike Lundquist.


The campaign doesn’t include increased patrols, Lundquist said, because CHP officers “only catch one in 2,000 drunk drivers. Sending more officers out there isn’t the answer. Education is.”

In May and June of last year in Orange County, 297 fatal or injury accidents occurred involving drivers 25 and younger who had been drinking, contrasted with 330 such accidents in 1984.

The letter states: “Thousands of graduates--and their friends--joined Sober Graduation last year because they agreed with our common-sense approach. . . . We hope that every parent will endorse the idea of a sober graduation . . . so your youngster will see it as the option of choice.”