Minimum Drinking Age Act

2188 Words9 Pages
It is evident that the National Minimum Drinking Age Act should be repealed because the law’s reasoning is flawed, eighteen is considered the age of adulthood, and a decreased drinking age will lessen teenagers’ dangerous drinking habits. Before the flaws in the National Minimum Drinking Age Act are exposed, it is necessary to understand details about the law’s history in addition to how it works. Legislators began pushing for a uniform drinking age after some states reduced their age of adulthood and drinking age in the wake of the Vietnam War, while others did not (NHTSA, 2001). The debate over when to allow Americans to drink became one of the most debated issues of the time period. Freshman Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey led the…show more content…
The law pushed states to raise their individual drinking ages to 21 within two years and threatened to decrease highway funding provided by the Federal Highway Aid Act if they did not (Kadlec, 1986, p. 1). The common belief that there is a national drinking age is incorrect, since states still possess the ability to increase or decrease their individual drinking ages, they will just lose a portion of federal highway funding if they do so. When the law was passed, it required the Secretary of Transportation to withhold ten percent of funding, however the law was revised to hold back eight percent after 2012 (23 U.S.C § 158). This law holds state governments hostage, using money to force them into changing something that should be in their individual control. The reasoning behind the National Minimum Drinking Age Act is flawed, and the passing of this unnecessary law was aided by incorrect facts about teenage drinking and driving used by Senator Lautenberg and his co-sponsors to garner support for their bill. One of the lawmakers’ main arguments included statistics which said that almost 60 percent…show more content…
When the government decided to lower their drinking age from 20 to 18 years old in 1999, they correctly predicted that there would not be an increase in alcohol abuse because many teenagers already drank alcohol they obtained illegally from adults (ICAP, 2002.) This supports the philosophy that it is better and healthier to allow young people to drink at a lower age so that their habits can be controlled, and that this can be done without increasing dangerous behavior. Statistics from around the world also suggest that a decreased legal drinking age creates healthier drinkers in the long run. A study on the percentage of people older than 15 years old with an alcohol use disorder reveals that 5.48% of Americans are affected, compared to 1.07% of people in Spain and 0.5% of people in Italy (WHO, 2004). Analyzing this data shows that the rate of alcoholism is significantly lower in countries including Spain and Italy where the drinking age is lower, likely because citizens drink responsibly throughout their entire lives. Logically, repealing the Drinking Age Act would have a similar effect on the prevalence of dangerous drinking habits here in the United
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