Grad season is a joyous time, but drunk driving threat also increases

With high school grad season in full swing, a warning against drunk driving

Hundreds of high school seniors in caps and gowns marched into Aloha Stadium on Friday night to mark their graduation from Radford High School.

Radford was one of 18 public high schools that held commencement ceremonies around the state Friday. Another 20 are scheduled for Saturday, with four more on Sunday.

That makes for a lot of proud parents.

"We're just very proud and very glad that she's made it through to tonight," said Brian Grenier, whose daughter, Sarah, was among the graduates

But with graduations come grad parties. And grad parties could mean drinking.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says car crashes in general are the leading cause of death for teenagers, and Hawaii as the highest rate in the nation of drunk drviving.

For several years, schools and parents have taken actions to make sure that new grads are safe, such as having overnight alcohol-free parties.

Radford High doesn't have such a party, but parents are still prepared.

"We have family visiting, so we're just going to go to dinner afterward and stay together as a family," Kate Pigott, who watched her daughter Anna get her diploma Friday night.

Lisa Grenier also said her family would be celebrating her daughter's graduation together Friday night.

"She does have a few other graduation parties that she will be attending this weekend, and she will be going with her sisters, who are the designated drivers, and to make sure everything stays in line," she said.

Arkie Koehl, of the MADD Hawaii public policy committee, said preventing impaired driving is key.

If a grad is confronted with the possibility of getting into a vehicle driven by someone who's been drinking, "Call your parents. Call a friend. Take public transportation. Use your Uber app. Anything but getting in a car where there's drinking going on."

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