Graduation night is rapidly approaching for Phillips County seniors. It is a night these youngsters have been looking forward to since they first set foot in kindergarten or pre-school some 13 or 14 years ago. This marks a major milestone in their lives – the first official step from adolescence to adulthood.

Graduation night is rapidly approaching for Phillips County seniors. It is a night these youngsters have been looking forward to since they first set foot in kindergarten or pre-school some 13 or 14 years ago. This marks a major milestone in their lives – the first official step from adolescence to adulthood.

However, for some graduation night will become one of the most dangerous evenings of the year. With the exception of New Year's Eve, alcohol-related traffic accidents will take more lives on graduation night than any other holiday or special day during the course of the year.

Far too many young people seem to feel that a drunken binge is the right of passage to becoming an adult. We would like to take a moment here and urge our seniors to take a pledge of responsibility and not risk their lives or the lives of others by getting behind the wheel of a car and driving drunk.

Your future is long and bright. Don't mess around with a careless bout with the bottle. Today, teens are faced with even more driving hazards than this generation was when it was sowing its oats. Texting and using a smartphone while driving can turn out to be just as deadly as any bottle of booze.

As far as drinking and driving is concerned, abstinence of course is obviously the safest option. However, if you feel like you simply must have a good time with the aid of a bottle, get yourself a designated driver as part of planning to attend the party and certainly before you take your first drink.

Graduation is too special an occasion to be spoiled by becoming another statistic. No one wants to remember the occasion from a wheelchair or bedfast for the rest of his or life as the result of serious injury. Certainly, no one wants to carry the burden of recalling having killed or seriously injured someone in a thoughtless accident that could have been so easily avoided.

Life is too short for these kinds of needless tragedies. The thoughts that will go through your mind as you accept that diploma will be, “Where did the past dozen years go? It seems like only yesterday I was sitting at my desk in the first grade.” The rest of those years fly by much faster than that.

Seniors please be careful. You have your future ahead of you. Don't let it end with one careless mistake .