Back in 1984, lawmakers hoped that increasing the minimum drinking age to 21 would decrease alcohol abuse among college-age students. Nearly thirty years later, we find that has instead encouraged the underaged to take part in dangerous binge drinking.
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 forced states to increase the minimum drinking age to 21 or lose up to 10 percent of their federal highway funding. But lawmakers didn’t simply pick 21 randomly out of a hat. The concept of becoming an adult at 21 dates back to England, where a man could become a knight and was given the right to vote once he turned 21. It is fitting that legalized drinking should correspond to legal adulthood.
Before 1984, certain organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, began lobbying for a change to 21 in order to keep alcohol out of the hands of “less-mature” 18 year olds. According to the group, changing the drinking age to 21 has reduced drunk-driving accidents dramatically. They evidence this claim by stating that the total drunk driving accidents has been reduced since 1984. But by looking at all traffic data, we find that the total number of traffic accidents per miles driven, with or without alcohol involved, have also dropped dramatically.
By lowering the drinking age to 18, colleges could put alcohol out into the open and educate people on safe consumption. This could curb alcohol-related injuries, alcohol poisoning and much more. Furthermore, it would reduce the underage drinking tickets (not related to driving) that are given out.
This drinking age business is ridiculous. Most developed countries in Europe have drinking ages of 18. Our country needs to follow the world consensus and allow college students and 18 year olds to drink alcohol.