Changing the Rules

At the age of eighteen, American citizens have the right to vote, sign contracts, purchase tobacco products, get married, and join the military. All of these rights seem like they would require a lot of responsibility from a citizen, right? Then why, I wonder, do you have to be twenty-one years old to purchase alcoholic beverages? Is it to help prevent reckless drunk driving or are eighteen year olds only mature to die for their country rather than drink a glass of wine? If I were a soldier at the age of eighteen, I would hope that I was mature enough to drink an alcoholic beverage. I would already be trusted with a -gun- so what’s the harm in trusting me with a bottle of beer? I certainly don’t see the danger if I’m a responsible adult.

The drinking age originates from the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 which says that any state that has a drinking age lower than twenty-one will have a percentage of federal highway funding withheld. States decide the drinking age but all have agreed on the age of twenty-one due act in 1984 that was originally passed as one of many ideas to prevent drunk driving accidents. The plan had good motive but it failed to succeed its expectations, proven by a statistic in 1992 that showed drunk driving fatalities to be decreasing at a remarkably low rate. So if the original goal was never fulfilled, why do we still continue to make what we legally define as an adult wait three extra years to drink?


The map above displays the drinking ages around the world. It seems prominent to note how few countries have a legal drinking age of twenty-one and how many have a drinking of eighteen. There’s also a remarkable amount  of countries that have no drinking age at all. Studies show that during the 1980s, when the drinking age was first implemented, America had a lower decrease in drunk driving accidents than in European countries with a legal drinking age of eighteen. Perhaps it’s just coincidence but the statistics for other countries show lower drinking ages to be working just fine for the rest of the world. There’s a study that shows when teenagers are able to drink in a safe and controlled environment, they often grow up to be responsible drinkers. This is most likely because they get the chance to learn early what alcohol is like rather than when they turn 21 and buy their first case of beers. In the past decade alone, the highest percentage of fatal accidents while drunk driving occurred in the twenty-one to twenty-four age group where many are first starting to drink. Doesn’t it seem like a better idea to allow people to drink earlier and learn before they drink a lot when they’re finally legal and make a huge mistake?


One Response to Changing the Rules

  1. sydneys14 says:

    Really liked the way you compared being mature enough to handle guns and die for your country and not being allowed to drink a beer. I completely agree with you on this issue, Cody!

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