Should the drinking age be lowered?
The United States has a long history with alcohol consumption. For better and sometimes worse, alcohol has been a popular aid in many social gatherings and events involving Americans. Currently however, only those above the age of 21 years are allowed to enjoy the privilege of drinking alcoholic beverages. This occurred in 1984 with the passing of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act within the Federal Highway Act bill (US Congress, 1984). The bill said that a 10 percent decrease of highway funding would take place in states that failed to raise the drinking age to 21 (US Congress, 1984). All states complied with the bill very shortly after it’s passing because the crucial need for highway funding. Nevertheless, this passage has been controversial since its inception in 1984. Data compiled in favor of increasing the drinking age is just a controversial and strongly contested. Therefore, the drinking age should be lowered back to 18 years old, because too much liability is placed on bars, liquor stores, and social hosts, little evidence points to adverse health affects due to moderate minor alcohol consumption, and finally all rights and privileges of adulthood are given at age 18 in the United States except for alcohol consumption.
First, the liability placed on bars, liquor stores, and social hosts has become a great burden in the alcohol industry. Vendors selling alcohol are required to properly identify the age of the buyer. However, this can be very complicated in the technological age that exists today. Fake identification has become a huge black market business as well as using the identification of those with a similar appearance. Minors are using fake identification to buy booze more than ever. Vendors should not be held accountable if these various forms of fake identification truly dupe them. A law review done on fake identification, also argues that placing all the liability on alcohol vendors is a lot to ask (Murray). Computers and the Internet have grown to an exponential use of fake IDs (Murray). Bar owners and liquor stores are turning away huge portions of their business just to comply with the law (Murray). It is not fair for the government to hold these vendors accountable and hurt their business. By lowering the drinking age back to 18, the biggest group of underage drinkers would be targeted. 18 to 20 year olds are the largest population of underage drinkers because they are college-aged students. They are the most likely to attempt to use fake identification. By lowering the drinking age to make these ages legal, the use of fake identification will decrease dramatically. Furthermore, it is not fair to hold vendors liable for the actions of intoxicated minors if fake identification is used to purchase the alcohol. Two cases examine this issue. First, in the case of Berg Vs. Zummo, the plantiff sued the minor defendant for damages caused during his intoxication (Berg Vs. Zummo). The case went all the way to the Supreme Court of Louisiana. The decision reached held that the bar was first and foremost responsible for serving the minor alcohol (Berg Vs. Zummo). It also declared some liability on the minor for his reckless actions. However, by lowering the drinking age to 18 years of age, the liability would be solely held by the intoxicated person in this case and not the establishment furnishing the alcohol. Thus lowering the drinking age further protects vendors in this regard. In another case, employees at a military base were held liable for serving alcohol to underage servicemen (US v. Dotson). The case of the United States of America v. Dotson Et. Al. upheld that vendors of alcohol are liable for serving to minors (US v. Dotson). Again, if the drinking age were lowered to 18, the liability in this case would have been avoided. All servicemen are age 18...
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