The drinking age is a controversial issue, with many heated opponents on either side arguing for or against the current laws. Despite that the drinking age has been set at 21 ever since 1984, a lot of people feel that this law poses problems for society. Whether it's an appeal to drinking responsibly or an argument about freedom, proponents have a few core reasons why they feel that the drinking age should be raised.
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As a result of the danger that alcohol poses to young drivers who may choose to drive drunkenly, many feel that raising the drinking age would prevent drunk driving accidents. Of all drug driving car accidents, 34 per cent involve an individual between the ages of 21 and 24, and the number of incidences is on the rise. Many interpret this to mean that the 21 to 24-year-olds are not old enough to handle drinking and a higher drinking age would lower drunk driving accidents because older drivers would be more responsible with alcohol.
In addition to the physical problems that alcohol may pose for young individuals, alcohol may cause a variety of lifestyle problems for young adults. Studies demonstrate that, the earlier a person begins drinking alcohol, the more likely a person is to become an alcoholic. In addition, studies show that students typically give alcohol to their younger peers or siblings, and, although this is illegal, raising the drinking age would increase the age of those who receive alcohol from older peers.
Irresponsible Alcohol Consumption Costs Everyone
United States citizens pay more than £6 billion in tax dollars each year to deal with costs of drunk driving, higher health care expenses and higher auto insurance fees. Drunk driving accidents and other problems that result from alcohol consumption generate a lot of costs for the community. For example, in Minnesota, some cities use almost one-third of their overall police budgets to curb alcohol-related problems. Because this generates cost for both those who drink and those who do not, many feel that a higher drinking age would be more fair and reduce the expenditures on alcohol-related issues for a group of people.
Different Ages for Different Privileges
Many people argue that 18-year-olds have the ability to fight a war for their country, but they cannot drink in the very country that they defend. However, proponents of raising the drinking age argue that the age of 18 does not necessarily signify adulthood, and there are different ages for different privileges. At age 14 a person can obtain a hunting license, at age 16 she can drive and at age 25 she can rent a car. As a result of the range of ages that citizens receive certain privileges at, there can be no justification for keeping the drinking age the same or lowering it as a result of an adult's inherent "right" to drink.
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- EurekAlert; College Drinking Problems, Deaths on the Rise; June 15, 2009
- College Drinking: Changing the Culture; Effects of Minimum Drinking Age Laws: Review and Analyses of the Literature from 1960 to 2000; Alexander C. Wagenaar, et al.
- Ed Snyder & Associates: United States Drunk Driving Car Accident Statistics
- CDC: Fact Sheets-Underage Drinking