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Editorial: Don a little safety with the dress or tuxedo

High school prom. The big dance.

Seen by some as a must-do event in the step from childhood to adulthood, the annual spring ritual is upon us.

Most area high schools will celebrate prom in April. In the cases of Red Wing, Ellsworth and Zumbrota-Mazeppa, April 28 is the big night. But on nearly every Saturday from now through early May you can expect to encounter the region's students and their dates on the road. Goodhue, Cannon Falls and Lake City, for instance, will hold prom on May 5.

Some of students will drop a small fortune getting dressed to kill.

Dress: $200-300 easy.

Tuxedo: $100 or more.

Corsage: $40-$140.

Nails: $10-$50. (Double that if she's wearing open-toed sandals.)

Hair: $75-$200.

Purse. Jewelry. Shoes. Extras.

Don't forget purchasing ever important tickets to the dance and the meal that are the actual event.

Small fortune, indeed, even for the do-it-yourselfers.

More costly than anything on the list, however, would be doing all this while ignoring the No. 1 accessory: Safety.

For years, parents have warned their children about the dangers of drinking and driving. (A case of "Don't do as I do, do as I say" for some.) The danger is real. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that 1 in 3 youth under the age of 21 killed in alcohol-related accidents died during prom and graduation season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Now consider that the NHTSA and CDC have found that texting while driving is as dangerous as drunken driving.

Today, the parent-teen prom talk also should include the perils of distracted driving. The overall risks for teen drivers have heightened considerably since their parents' days due to the proliferation of smartphones. Study after study shows an increase in accidents connected with such distracted driving.

However much local students spend on prom, we hope no one makes the ultimate costly mistake. Otherwise, the price of their big dance will be too high.