All states in the United States following the end of the ban in 1933 endorsed a minimum legal drinking age (MLDA), with many states setting the age at 21 years. However, since then, no adjustments in lawful drinking age occurred until 1970s, after the social change of the 1960s and the Vietnam War draft draw, which impacted the reduction in the legitimate voting age to 18. This resulted in 29 states dropping their drinking age to 18, 19, or 20 years. However, a few years later, because of several aspects as well as research proof displaying an increase in traffic clashes amid 18-20-year-olds, the states which had dropped their MLDA returned it to 21. But, in mid-2000s, a fresh movement arose to query the worth of the age -21 MLDA. This movement revived arguments surrounding the age-21 MLDA laws. Nonetheless, this paper argues that drinking age in the United States should not be lowered to 18.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that through 2000, an upsurge in minimum legal drinking age protected 21,887 lives in 50 states (Kindelberger, 2005) (reference 2). It also estimated that 21-age MLDA will linger to save lives (around 1,000) every year. While in 1982 alcohol was involved in 60% (at the time, some states had lowered MLDA to 18, 19, or 20 years) of US vehicular fatalities, in 2005 it stood at 39% (MLDA was 21 years) (NHTSA, 2001) (reference 3). Many studies have illustrated a counter association amid MLDA and two conclusions: traffic crashes and alcohol intake. The achievement of the 21 MLDA has been realized with slight execution, yet it has been established that with amplified execution efforts, the sale of liquor to teenagers can be reduced by at least half.
Young adults and adolescents are predominantly susceptible to the detrimental effects of liquor. Liquor has been associated with slow brain development, which remains to grow and develop through teenage years. Also, youngsters have a tendency of combining high-risk activities with high-risk drinking, which augments the latent for inadvertent harm. These effects raise the questions regarding the capability of existing strategies in properly cutting access to and intake of liquor by youths. Nonetheless, when New Zealand abridged its MLDA in 1997 from 20 to 18, the frequency of traffic crashes and harms for 18-19-year-old males increased by 12% and amongst 15-17-year-old males by 14% (RACP & RANZ, 2016) (reference 4). Also, the number of people admitted to hospitals for intoxication under the age of 20 increased.
Conversely, Michigan in 1972 dropped its MLDA to 18 years as a fragment of a jurisdictive set that as well dropped the age of majority from 21 to 18. In the succeeding years, ensuing the opening of MLDA 18, proof emerged indicating a noteworthy intensification in traffic crashes amid 18-20 years old (Williams et al., 1975) (reference 7). The Michigan Council on Alcohol Problems, an organization that has for long been alarmed about youthful drinking, came to know about these findings and prompted the state to try and return to the previous drinking age, 21 years (Toomey et al., 2009) (reference 5). However, initially, this motion was opposed by alcohol retailers, and because of their lobbying efforts, it was hard for the legislature to increase the MLDA to 21. But, with a signature campaign, which saw more than 325,000 signatures collected in two months, the legislature passed rule to increase the MLDA to 19 (Toomey et al., 2009) (reference 5). But, with increased efforts, the MLDA eventually was raised to 21.
However, even though NHTSA estimates the 21-year MLDA has protected more than 23,733 lives in the U.S., this extraordinarily exact approximation is of overall lives protected, not of lives protected under 21. Besides, the current study shows that the 21-age MLDA might not unaided thwart liquor associated traffic mortalities from happening, but basically suspend the age when they do befall (Dee and Evans, 2001) (reference 1). Therefore, if the outcome of the 21 MLDA was without a doubt to suspend mortalities befalling between 18-20-years-old till they turn 21-24 year, then the lives protected statement allows more cautious inspection. Since the procedure NHTSA uses to apprehend the lifesaving latent of the MLDA 21-years employs 21-24 year-olds as a regulator assembly, the delaying outcome of the liquor consumption age evaluated by Dee and Evans (2001) (reference 1) might expand the verified efficiency of the 21 MLDA by augmenting the liquor associated traffic accident frequency in the control cohort, 21-24 year-olds.
Nevertheless, after the age-21 MLDA was executed, studies found out that alcohol-involved highway accidents dropped instantaneously, (for example, commencing the following month) among the 18-20-year-old populace. Wagener and Toomey. (2002) (reference 6) argue that cautious studies have indicated declines are unswervingly as a consequence of the legal drinking age and not because of implementation of and harsher punishments for driving while drunk. This argument is supported by the fact amid 1970 and 1975, 29 states had lowered their MLDA to 18, and many of those states marked an increase in related teen car accidents. However, immediately after the age was restored to 21, the highway related crashes declined among the same age group. But, one can argue that the drastic decline in traffic mortalities is a combination of education, law enforcement, the age limit, advances in technologies, and other measures different traffic agencies are putting in place.
On the other hand, restricting teenagers from consuming liquor does not stop them from consumption. Be that as it may, it makes drinking considerably less sheltered. Instead of drinking at a bar, for instance, youngsters drink covertly in rooms or at secret meetings, where these young people are significantly not as much of susceptible to be controlled and where drinks jagged with drugs are substantially more likely. In the event that somebody delights in or turns out to be ill, their mates are more averse to look for therapeutic and other help. Additionally, forbidding the offer of liquor to people under 21 is sure to energize voracious boozing. Since most young people cannot purchase their own particular liquor, these young individuals have companions, relatives, or even outsiders get it for them (NHTSA, 2001). Be that as it may, these folks are not usually accessible. This nonexistence of a concrete supply makes young users almost certainly relish when liquor is easy to get to.
However, statistics aside, I believe the drinking age in the United States is challenging to impose, and in one way or the other it appears discriminatory towards grown-ups between 18 and 21 years. The existing age limit (21 years) has established a culture of contempt for the law and secret drinking. In spite of whether a mature person is in the army or not, she should be regarded as basically as that: a mature person. Based on the argument that you are old and suitably capable to go to war, get harnessed, vote, or sign an agreement, it is clear at that point you are old and adequately reliable to buy a container of drink and toast to staying in a state that regards and secures singular rights. It is long past the time the law made up for lost time with that reality. Therefore, this research has changed my opinion. I do not support changing of the MLDA, but for some reasons, this research also points important facts about not lowering the age limit.
- Dee, T.S., & Evans, N. (2001). Behavioral policies and teen traffic safety. AEA Papers and Proceedings, 91(2), 91-96.
- Kindelberger, J. (2005). Calculating lives saved due to minimum drinking age laws. Traffic Safety Facts: Research Notes.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2001). Alcohol and highway safety 2001: A review of the state of knowledge.
- The Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (2016). Minimum legal drinking age.
- Toomey, L., Nelson, T., & Lenk, K. (2009). The age-21 minimum legal drinking age: A case study linking past and current debates. Addiction, 104, 1958–1965. doi:10.1111/j.13600443.2009.02742.x
- Wagenar, A., & Toomey T. (2002). Effects of minimum drinking age laws: Review and Analyses of the Literature from 1960 to 2000. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Supplement 14, 206-225.
- Williams, A. F., Rich, R. F., Zador, P. L., & Robertson, L. S. (1975). Legal minimum drinking age and fatal motor vehicle crashes. Journal of Legal Studies, 4, 219–39