Should the Drinking Age be Lowered to 18?

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Debate Outline

Team Members:

Proposition: Should the drinking age be lowered to age 18?

Position: Con

Central Contentions or Claims

Narration: The MLDA affects you; it affects me, all of us. Imagine being invited to a party and feeling uncomfortable because those around you are drunk and disorderly. Imagine going to college and not being able to focus on your school work because campus partying is even more common than before; the only difference is that now it’s legal. That’s not something I see benefiting us as young adults. Lowering the MLDA to 18 years old is not what is going to help make our generation and future generations mature and thrive as young adults.

Claim #1: Higher legal drinking ages are associated with lower rates of traffic accidents. Support #1:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released that when the MLDA was increased to 21 in 1984, it decreased the number of fatal traffic accidents for 18- to 20-year-olds by 13%; which saved approximately 27,052 lives up to 2008. Because the legal driving age is over 16, 18 year olds have just started driving and are still learning control and the ways of the open road and their car. According to the NHTSA motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds alone. By allowing them to drink at such a young age, not only are they learning to drive but they also have to learn their limit and how alcohol will affect their driving. Recently New Zealand lowered its drinking age to 18, giving researchers an opportunity to watch the effects. The rate of alcohol related crashes among young people rose significantly compared to older drivers.

Claim #2: It’s not working for European countries
Support #2:
It is argued that the United States should mirror some European countries and lower their MLDA to 18 or even younger. But the idea that European countries are doing fine with their MLDA is false. The rate of drinking among US teenagers is lower than most European countries. US teenagers also show equal or lower rates of intoxication/binge drinking than do adolescents from most European countries, and most European countries report higher rates of intoxication and binge drinking for youth under 13. I don’t think the solution to the issue is to have 13 year old adolescents binge drinking.

Claim #3: Underage has easier access to alcohol because of peers being legal Support #3:
Not many of us hang out with 21year old adults because they are not in school with us every day. If we did, underage drinking would be a lot more common. If the MLDA were lowered to the age of 18, our peers would be of age to drink and purchase alcohol. This would increase underage drinking. So by allowing 18 year old young adults to drink we would also be allowing 17, 16,or even younger adolescents to drink. Not only can 18 year olds distribute alcohol, but they can put more pressure on school authorities by making it necessary to monitor teens at school functions such as dances and sporting events. A little partying before the game would be perfectly legal before they go out into the public and onto school grounds.

Claim #4: Causes rebellious age to be lower
Support #4:
21 year old adults tend to be more mature and responsible than 18 year olds. A typical 18 year old is entering a new phase of independence as they move on to college or into the workforce. With this new freedom and lack of maturity comes disaster. They become more susceptible to binge drinking at parties and with drinking games. The proportion of current drinkers that are binge drinkers is highest in the 18- to 20-year-old group at 51% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This just shows the immaturity of this age group because this statistic is while the law is still in place. If drinking were legal for them the percentage of binge drinkers is likely to rise in their age group. Binge drinking is associated with...
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