Here it is, March 2016, and for students in local high schools, colleges, and universities that means one thing: Spring Break. It’s a welcomed break for most kids and many parents, where families and friends plan fun trips and vacations.

Remember the 1960s movies “Where the Boys Are” or “Girl Happy”? They are all about Spring Break. Teenagers and young adults having unsupervised fun over this holiday break has been a rite of passage in our culture for many years. In fact, kids off having fun on Spring Break is somewhat of an American tradition.

When is Spring Break this year? Not everyone takes the same week off – it depends upon each school’s academic calendar. Students in Illinois and Indiana will be on Spring Break most of this month; however, when that holiday week is scheduled depends upon what school you are attending.

Illinois and Indiana Spring Break Schedules

Here are a few examples of 2016 Spring Break Calendar Schedules in Indiana and Illinois. Notice how Spring Breaks for high schools in Indiana and Illinois are scheduled later than most local college and university calendars:

Indianapolis Public Schools
March 21, 2016 – April 1, 2016

Springfield Public Schools
March 25, 2016 – April 1, 2016

Valparaiso Community Schools
March 21, 2016 – March 28, 2016

Indiana State
March 14, 2016 – March 18, 2016

Indiana University
March 13, 2016 – March 20, 2016

Purdue University
March 14, 2016 – March 19, 2016

Western Illinois University
March 14, 2016 – March 18, 2016.

Popular Vacation Destinations for Student Spring Break Trips

Getting away to a sunny ocean-side beach remains one of the favorite Spring Break vacation plans for U.S. students. According to USA Today, the most popular Spring Break spots this year for American students are:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • Tampa, Florida
  • South Padre Island, Texas
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Miami, Florida
  • Panama City Beach, Florida
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Los Angeles, California.

Mexico and Spring Break

Indiana and Illinois students venturing into Mexico for their Spring Break holiday may be at a particular risk. The State Department has issued a warning for any American crossing the border into Mexico.

From the January 2016 State Department Mexico Travel Warning:

Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day. ….U.S. travelers should be aware that the Mexican government has been engaged in an extensive effort to counter organized criminal groups that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. Crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere, and U.S. citizens have fallen victim to criminal activity, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking, and highway robbery. …

Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place in towns and cities in many parts of Mexico… .The location and timing of future armed engagements is unpredictable. We recommend that you defer travel to the areas specifically identified in this Travel Warning….

U.S. citizens are encouraged to lower their personal profiles and to avoid displaying indicators of wealth such as expensive-looking jewelry, watches, or cameras. U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain awareness of their surroundings and avoid situations in which they may be isolated or stand out as potential victims…..

Kidnappings in Mexico have included traditional, “express,” and “virtual” kidnappings. … Carjacking and highway robbery are serious problems in many parts of the border region, and U.S. citizens have been murdered in such incidents.

Dangers of Serious Injuries and Fatal Accidents Over Spring Break Holiday

Last year, a research study was released that received lots of media attention because of its warning to those students driving off for Spring Break vacation trips. Surveying over a dozen popular Spring Break holiday spots (think Florida beach towns), it was reported that fatal traffic accidents jumped 9.1% during the Spring Break holiday season. Most of the people who died in these car crashes were under the age of 25 years and were on holiday (out-of-state visitors).

As ABC News reports, some experts consider Spring Break vacations to be somewhat of a “war zone” and recommend that parents not allow their children to take a Spring Break trip.

Why?  A variety of other risks and dangers await students on Spring Break trips. These include the following:

1. Mexico Accidents and Injuries

Spring Breakers in Mexico are vulnerable to being victims of crime, as well as being involved in accidents where they can be seriously injured. If an American student is involved in a drunk driving accident, then they may face serious criminal law consequences as well as dealing with their physical injuries.

2. Alcohol-Related Accidents

Drinking alcohol is part of the Spring Break tradition for many students. Binge drinking is popular, too. Bars, clubs, and promotional parties may serve alcoholic beverages at a reduced rate or even at no cost to Spring Breakers, adding to the temptation to drink. This can lead to serious accidents where drunk driving has contributed to pedestrian accidents, motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other accidents where people are seriously injured (including slip and falls).

3. Violence and Assaults

Unfortunately, Spring Breakers can be prey to criminal acts in the United States as well as Mexico. Bar fights may break out; sexual assaults may occur. Whether or not liability can be shared with the bars or clubs that served alcoholic beverages (dram shop), or failed to provide proper lighting in hallways and parking lots (negligent security), depends upon the circumstances surrounding the incident.

For more on these dangers, and the risks of long-term injury or wrongful death while on a Spring Break vacation, see our next post. Be careful out there!

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