Lowering the Drinking Age
Deliberate for a minute on how many young adults under the age of twenty-one drink alcoholic beverages illegally. Studies show that more than seventy percent of young adults between the ages of eighteen to twenty have engaged in illegal drinking. The United States drinking age has gone up and down throughout the years, but since 1984, the minimum age to drink has increased to twenty-one. Some believe that this age is appropriate, while others believe the federal government should decrease the age one is allowed to put alcohol to their lips. The drinking age should be lowered to eighteen like in many other countries because at this age one is considered an adult and in the United States the enticement to drink alcohol will reduce. Numerous actions took place before the drinking age increased. Some of these occurred when the United States gradually attempted to ban alcohol in every state no matter what your age was. Eventually they did achieve this goal, the outcome of this accomplishment created what America believed would transform this country. This change was known as the National Prohibition Act. The act began in 1919 and continued until 1933. When the National Prohibition Act was sign, sealed and delivered the Constitution then gained the 18th Amendment. The 18th Amendment “prohibited the manufacture, sale, transport, import, or export of alcoholic beverages”. However, when the 21st amendment was adopted in, this then repealed the amendment, therefore legalizing beer and all other alcoholic beverages. From here on out, each state began to create their own set of drinking laws ranging in age. But it did not take long for yet another drastic change to occur, this time the modification was labeled as the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. This act didn’t transpire till 1984, forcing all states to adjust their drinking age to twenty-one or lose their Federal-aid highway funds. The act also stated that the states are required to pass laws that encourage those not to drink and drive. Therefore, leaving the minimum legal drinking age at twenty-one. Although the drinking age still stands at twenty-one other countries allow those who are eighteen to consume alcohol. As always, there are people who disagree with lowering the drinking age to eighteen. Those who oppose believe that this age is suitable for such dangerous actions. Some people also feel like those who are under the age of twenty-one are incapable of controlling the amount of alcohol they intake therefore not comprehending when their bodies have had enough. Studies show that “states and provinces who obtained the age of eighteen had fewer drinking volumes and problems than those with twenty one (416).” About eighty-five countries out of a hundred and thirty eight allow those who are eighteen and up to consume alcohol. By reducing the minimum legal drinking age, they have noticed a decrease in many situations but the biggest decrease has been in the amount of automobile accidents and drunk drivers as a whole. Other countries realize that at eighteen years old one is considered an adult so why is that different when it comes to the United States? At eighteen years old, one is allowed to take on many responsibilities as an adult, the most important of which are serving our country, voting in our Federal and State elections, getting married, and being charged as an adult. But one thing eighteen year olds cannot do is legally drink.
Some may argue well in America, the average amount of miles a person drives a day is outrageous to get from place to place. Where as in other countries they may use many different ways of transportation in order to get to their destination. Correct, some countries prefer cycling a bike, riding an animal, taking the bus or even by simply walking by foot. But is it really the automobile’s fault that one decided to consume alcohol and run into the car on the opposite side of the road? Because if that is the case, then why have the carmakers not created a better car that does not do these things? I guess the better question is why have we not taking matters into our own hands and chosen other routes of transportation like many other countries have adopted? By accepting this way of transportation this has created a sense of easiness. These people who live in these countries worry less about driving on the same roads as drunk drivers and more about their lives as a whole. But recently it has been discovered that the number of fatal car accidents due to drunk drivers in the United States has decreased in percent for those between the ages of eighteen and twenty. But what about for those who are of age to drink, one may ask? The amount of fatal accidents to occur due to a drunk driver who is of age to consume alcohol… has surprisingly increased. This could be due to the fact that, these adults think the consequence for underage drinking is worse than those of age or due to the fact that these adults simple were not educated in school about the risk of drinking and driving. So is the decrease in situations and drinking volumes due to the acceptance of different transportation or is it simple because they educate their young adults therefore encouraging them to teach the generations following? I personally believe it is a little bit of both. Without education how is one to know right from wrong. But with this new acceptance of transportation they have decreased physical harm to those who are drinking and those who are not.