Lowering the drinking age from 21

Despite these improvements, too many teens still drink.

Lowering the drinking age from 21

This law basically told states that they had to enact a minimum drinking age of 21 or lose up to 10 percent of their federal highway funding. Exceptions include possession and presumably drinking for religious practices, while in the company of parents, spouses, or guardians who are over 21, medical uses, and during the course of legal employment.

That answers the legal question of why the drinking age is 21, but what was the underlying logic of the original policy? Did lawmakers just pick 21 out of a hat because they wanted college seniors to learn the nuances of bar culture before graduation?

The concept that a person becomes a full adult at age 21 dates back centuries in English common law; 21 was the age at which a person could, among other things, vote and become a knight. Since a person was an official adult at age 21, it seemed to make sense that they could drink then, too.

Believe it or not, Franklin Roosevelt helped prompt the change in a rather circuitous fashion. When the Vietnam-era draft rolled around, though, people were understandably a bit peeved that year-old men were mature enough to fight, but not old enough to vote.

Thus, in the states ratified the 26th Amendmentwhich lowered the voting age to Legislators started applying the same logic to drinking. The drinking age, which the 21st Amendment made the responsibility of individual states, started dropping around the country.

Critics of the change decried rises in alcohol-related traffic fatalities among to year-old drivers in areas where the drinking age had been lowered. Teenagers from the more restrictive state would drive into the one where they could buy booze, drink, and then drive home, which created a perfect storm for traffic fatalities.

More miles logged in a car meant more opportunities for a drunken accident. Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving began agitating for a uniform national drinking age of 21 to help eliminate these blood borders and keep alcohol out of the hands of supposedly less-mature year-olds.

Raw numbers show that drunk driving fatalities have definitely dropped since the early s; sincedrunk driving fatalities have decreased 51 percent.

Among drivers under 21, drunk driving-related deaths have decreased by 80 percent. Teasing out the underlying cause of this reduction in total fatalities is no mean feat, though. Non-alcohol traffic fatalities have also declined relative to the number of miles driven over the same time period, which could be attributed to any number of causes, including increased seat belt usage, the widespread use of airbags, and other safety improvements to cars and roads.

Moreover, drinking and driving for the whole population might be down as the result of increased education on its consequences, harsher penalties, improved enforcement, or increased stigmatization of drunk driving.

They contend that by lowering the drinking age, colleges would be able to bring booze out into the open and educate students on responsible consumption. Such education might help curb alcohol poisoning, drunken injuries, drinking-fueled violence, and alcoholism on campuses.Mar 29,  · Whether the drinking age is 18, 21, or 45, people are going to find ways to drink, and the only way to deter abuse, and all that comes with it, is to make sure people know what they are doing in.

In the s the age for buying or drinking beer and wine in the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) was 18; the age for hard liquor was [23] [24] Residents from Virginia and Maryland would often drive to D.C. to obtain alcohol.

Lowering the drinking age from 21

Following the July 1, passage of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the legal voting age from 21 to 18 years of age, 30 US states lowered the MLDA to 18, 19, or .

Feb 10,  · Lowering the Drinking Age Has Serious Consequences Tara Watson is an associate professor of economics and chairwoman of the Program in Public Health at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Lowering the drinking age would eliminate thrill drinking. In the critical 18 – 20 age bracket, there are often binge drinking episodes simply because it is a thrill to break the law.

Eliminate the thrill by lowering the drinking age and the taboo will be gone as well, encouraging normal alcohol consumption in the critical age bracket. 57 rows · In the s the age for buying or drinking beer and wine in the District of Columbia .

Drinking: 18 vs. 21 | BU Today | Boston University