Why the Legal Drinking Age Should Not Be Lowered to 18
My research with Angela Fertig examined the effects of drinking age going back to the 1980s, when many states went from a low of 18 to 21. Our study found that a lower drinking age was associated with a statistically higher risk of unwanted pregnancies and, most importantly, poorer infant health. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 20. Twenty-three percent of these drivers had consumed alcohol but were not over the legal limit. Another important reason for not lowering the drinking age is the prevalence of binge drinking, especially on college campuses. A short walk through nearly every major campus in America reveals an abundance of barrel parties, crowded bars with fake ID featuring miners, and rowdy fraternity and sister events raging all night. 100 of 102 analyses (98%) of a meta-study on the legal drinking age and traffic accidents found a higher legal drinking age, which is associated with lower rates of road accidents.  In the 30 years since the introduction of MLDA 21, drunk driving deaths have decreased by one-third.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that MLDA 21 saved 31,417 lives between 1975 and 2016.
 I`m from Puerto Rico, where the drinking age is 18+, and I totally agree that they taught us to drink from an early age. Instead of drinking in sketchy places, I grew up in bars and restaurants where I developed a sense that drinking is a way to socialize so I don`t look cool. The problem I had when I came to the United States is that the majority of young people don`t know how to drink, and most of the time it`s because you don`t learn to drink. For example, a friend of mine from Texas and her group fall to the ground for an hour or two. This is largely because you didn`t learn to drink from a young age. I`m not saying that not everyone in the United States knows how to drink, but a majority doesn`t know how to drink. Also, I find it incredible that an 18+ year old can buy an assault rifle and carry it, but not drink. Also, keep in mind that a student goes to college and cannot drink until their 3rd year of university. It`s absurd. I love the United States, but they have to lower that age for God`s sake.
It makes no sense. Drunk driving is a big problem and the only reason MLDA was founded in the first place. In the 18 to 24 age group, 5,500 people die each year from alcohol-related injuries, and one in two who die in an impaired crash is someone other than the drunk driver (Stovell et al. 3). These are statistics that cannot be ignored, and there is also a high number of sexual assaults that occur when alcohol is introduced. Nearly 700,000 people are attacked each year and 100,000 are attacked by a student who has been drinking (Stovell et al. 3). But regardless of the age of alcohol consumption, these numbers will always be high, and there has been no significant decrease in these statistics since the MLDA increased. According to Sand Law, “10,511 people died in alcohol-related crashes in the United States in 2018. The FBI also estimates that about 1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in the same year. (para. 1) The United States is the third worst country for drunk driving, accounting for 31% of alcohol-related deaths in 2015.
This is compared to Germany with 9%, which has an MLDA of 16 years. Russia has an MLDA of 18 and is also at (9%). India and China both have MLDAs of 18 and reach 5% and 4% (judges) respectively. As we can see from these statistics, other countries with a lower MLDA have fewer DUI car deaths and accidents than the United States. We know that young people under the age of 21 will continue to drive drunk in the United States and, unfortunately, assaults will continue to occur. Young people between the ages of 18 and 20 have the right to do other risky things, and the government cannot protect us from our own bad decisions. Lowering the MLDA to age 18 in the U.S. will normalize responsible drinking habits at a younger age, reducing the risk of binge drinking among teens and college students. You`ll also be able to drink in safer environments without being kicked off campus due to the risk of being caught drinking. 18-year-olds are allowed to do many risky things, but not to drink. To change this, you can email your senator or state representative asking them to reduce the MLDA. You can also sign petitions or join many groups that advocate for change.
18-year-olds typically enter a new phase of independence from their parents through university or staff and are more prone to excessive drinking, risky sexual activity and other irresponsible behaviour due to lack of maturity. There is a good case for lowering the drinking age to 21: it is unpopular with most young adults; it probably promotes excessive alcohol consumption underground; Law enforcement is a complete failure on college campuses. And, of course, it`s remarkable that an 18-year-old is considered an adult in almost every context – even in the voting booth – except when ordering a beer. Maintaining the legal drinking age at 21 falsely implies compliance with the law. and now it is illegal to smoke in VA unless you are 21 years old considering that adolescence is a time of great impulsivity and propensity for violence and/or destructive behaviors, the dangers of legalizing alcohol among minors become all the more tangible. (i) Educate young people aged 18 to 20 on how to consume alcohol responsibly using a curriculum similar to driver training programmes and implemented across States; and (ii) issue a liquor license to individuals who pass a final examination at the end of the 40-hour educational program, the license allowing such individuals to legally drink alcohol in the state where the license is issued. (Toomey et al., 1962). Research conducted from the early 1980s to the present has shown a continuous decline and then flattening of variables related to alcohol and driving that have led to a parallel decline in per capita consumption by the country and also by university students.
However, these declines began in 1980 before the 1987 national law requiring states to have 21-year-old liquor purchase laws. This idea is intense, but could be the answer to the introduction of responsible consumption habits at an early age. As August A. Busch III, president of the Anheuser-Busch brewery, put it, “Instead of pretending that a campus ban is realistic, we should invest in helping these young people make healthy and responsible choices” (Toomey et al. 1963). Of course, we have to recognize that a brewery like Anheuser-Busch has a financial interest in young people having legal access to beer. However, this does not mean that their arguments are not valid. The United States actually has worse traffic accident statistics than similar countries that have set their drinking age at 18. According to the World Health Organization, other high-income countries have a road fatality rate of 8.7 per 100,000 population, while the United States has a rate of 11.4 per 100,000 population. On the one hand, this is due to the strong automotive culture of our company, but on the other hand, it is also due to the way we deal with road safety. In much of the United States, law enforcement`s top priority is to stop underage drinking. In Europe, the top priority for law enforcement is to catch speeding and drunk drivers on the roads, i.e.
those who actively pose a threat. The most popular argument for defending drinking age is that it saves lives. However, this claim is highly questionable. Here`s what really happened when the drinking age was raised to 21: 20% of U.S. teens aged 16-17 and 7.4% aged 14-15 say they`ve drunk alcohol in the past month, compared to an average of 38% of European teens aged 15-16.   U.S. teens ages 16-17 also have lower rates of binge drinking (12.6%) than 15- to 16-year-olds from Europe (35%).   When adolescents have access to alcohol at age 18, they become more vulnerable to a car accident due to impaired driving.
The drinking age also leaves inexperienced drinkers with no experienced friends and family to watch. This lack of support, combined with inexperience, increases the risk of sexual assault, unprotected sex and drunk driving. Of course, alcohol can impair judgment and make people more vulnerable. But many of the negative consequences of drinking alcohol are less likely for a drinker who is under the supervision of responsible friends or family members — benefits we probably won`t get if we can only consume alcohol in secret. Any measures to increase the availability of alcohol for young adults must take into account its harmful effects, including road deaths, unintended pregnancies and crime.