For most Americans under the age of 21, alcohol is the drug of choice, but that doesn’t mean the drinking age should be changed.
The consequences of lowering the drinking age would outweigh the benefits. More DUI’s, more alcoholism, and more risky behavior are a few of the negative effects underage drinking already causes.
Since the drinking age was raised in 1984, alcohol related car fatalities have significantly decreased.
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for persons between 15 and 20 years old. Twenty-three percent of those drivers had been drinking but weren’t over the legal limit.
Between 1982 and 2007, alcohol related fatalities for people ages 18 to 20 dropped 60 percent.
Giving adolescents access to alcohol at 18 will make them more susceptible to being involved in a car accident due to drinking and driving.
Younger age is also associated with binge drinking.
Approximately 5.4 million people ages 12- to 20- years-old engaged in binge drinking in 2013.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, people 12-to-20-year-olds consume 11 percent of all the alcohol in the United States. More than 90 percent of these adolescents consume by binge drinking.
Eighty-one percent of drivers who were under age 21 and involved in a fatal crash in 2010, had a blood alcohol content higher than .08, the legal limit, according to the CDC.
In Texas, the blood alcohol content for a DUI under age drinker is .02.
Restricting alcohol access to people under 21 means less traffic accidents, less deaths, and more safety for all drivers.
A first offense DUI in Texas is a jail time of 3 to 180 days, up to a $2,000 fine, and a license suspension up to one year.
People who begin drinking who begin drinking in their teens are more likely to experience issues like alcoholism later in life.
Adolescents who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence later in life, according to the American Psychological Association website.
According to the CDC, lowering the drinking age could impair the brain’s development causing depression, decreased motor skills, or memory loss.
One can argue that the earlier a person starts to drink, the more likely they are prone to developing alcohol related problems in life.
People who begin alcohol use before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop problems with alcohol than those who wait until they’re 21, according to the CDC.
Abigail Massey is a senior Film, Television and Digital Media-Sports Broadcasting major.