In 1984, young adults ages 16-20 accounted for 61% of drunk driving fatalities. Many saw this as a disturbingly high number, including government representatives. Their solution? Raise the minimum drinking age to 21.
It appeared as though the move was a success – drunk driving fatalities were cut in half for this group by 1995. The celebration was tainted, however, by one, glaring follow-up statistic: A spike in alcohol use by minors followed the altered drinking age. Now, developmental scientists are reexamining the effectiveness of 21 as the legal drinking age.
In studies done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Harvard University, and Monitoring the Future, researchers have found a few things to be concerned about. With the teenage tendency to seek risk and forego consequence in mind, some dangerous stats come up:
Teens typically learn best from experience. One researcher offers that the drinking and driving ages should be switched – a full license comes at 21 while teens can legally drink at 18. But why?
No matter your opinion on the legal drinking age, our firm urges parents and teens alike, please: Don't Drink and Drive.