Lowering the Legal Drinking Age Essay

Take a moment and imagine your 18th birthday. You’re considered an adult now; you can get married, join the army, own a house, and vote. If we are considered adults at the age of 18 and can die for our country and make all of our own decisions then why cant people drink at the age of 18? Given modern day society, the idea of lowering the national minimum drinking age to 18 in the united states is feasible because of its proven effectiveness in other foreign countries and desirable because of the benefits such as reduced crime, reduced spending and more educated adults to society.

The effectiveness of this plan can be proven through 3 different aspects: the positive effect that having a lower drinking age has/had in European countries such as Germany, Definitive research, and the profound changes it would bring upon society. The minimum drinking age overall in Europe is significantly lower then that of the United States, Germany is one of those examples. In Germany it is legal for people to buy and drink beer at age 16 and then hard liquor at 18. I have seen this plan in action with my own eyes many times.

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Being someone who used to live in Germany I have the unique perspective of life as a teen in Germany as well as the U. S and there are many stark contrasts. Where I lived in Germany it was actually legal for kids to drink beer at the age of 14 years old and liquor at 18. This notion may sound ridiculous but the results are quite impressive. What I learned from my experiences in Germany related to drinking was that one of the key parts of the plans success relies on kids being young when they start drinking.

Starting at a younger age and under parental supervision helps teach kids at an early age how to be responsible when drinking alcohol. This is important because as a youngster these kids are learning to respect alcohol and the dangerous problems it can cause which, when learned at a younger age is more likely to be remembered. Once you have turned 18 in Germany you are able to buy hard liquor. By this time you have been drinking for a few years and know your limits and how to be safe with it. Lets compare this to America when kids turn 18.

In America most kids turn 18, graduate high school and go to college where more then likely they start drinking heavily in unsafe places such as frat houses and big house parties. However fun this may be it is a dangerous place for inexperienced drinkers to party. Teens in America are forced to keep their drinking hidden and underground which fosters unsafe drinking habits to begin with. Instead of learning at a younger age in a responsible setting teens are learning at an older age where mistakes can ruin your future not to mention they are doing it unsupervised and in large quantities.

Another thing that ensures the effectiveness of this plan within Germany is the very strict punishment under the law if these rules are broken, for example drunk driving. During all my time spent in Germany I have never once heard or seen on TV of someone getting pulled over for drunk driving or for that matter killing themselves or others while driving. This goes to show how teaching kids at a younger age teaches them to be more responsible. There have been numerous studies on the effectiveness the changing of the national drinking age to 21 has had in America.

In 1984 congress passed the National minimum drinking age act, which effectively changed the legal drinking age nationally to 21. However, at the time there were still many states that had laws saying it was legal to drink at the age of 18. It took several years for all states to change their drinking ages to match the national requirement, mostly due to the withholding of federal funds for highway and road construction decreasing it by as much as 10%. The reason congress enacted this law was essentially to reduce alcohol related fatalities across the nation due to alcohol.

Many studies have shown that the extent to which this law actually lowered alcohol related fatalities is not as high as people think. After the law was enacted several states did not change their laws, in fact it was not till 1987 when all 50 states had changed their laws. Studies showed that states who changed their legal drinking age to 21 initially experienced almost the exact same decline in alcohol related traffic fatalities as the states who did not change their law until later.

This brings into question as to why states experienced the same change but under different circumstances, the answer is quite simple as time passed after 1984 technology for safety in cars began to make major strides in creating safer and better automobiles as well as safety features inside of them. As time went on these innovations became better and better which in turn lead to less traffic fatalities. Lowering the drinking age to 18 would benefit society because it would create less chaos in the system as well as less turmoil for the individual and the government.

The first area that would be affected by this change would be Alcohol related arrests and other various tickets associated with underage drinking. If the legal drinking age were changed to 18 it would cause and exponential decrease in the number of people who are imprisoned, arrested and ticketed every year for things such as drunken driving, underage drinking, and housing violations. Getting rid of these often unnecessary tickets and fines would keep more money in the pockets of students who can in turn use that money on things worth while like school and spending money that is circulated into the economy.

However, not only would it just save young adults money in the now but it would also change the way children are raised to deal with alcohol. Having the drinking age set at 18 will cause a major shift in how kids learn about alcohol and most importantly how they deal with it. With a lower legal age, teens would be able learn to drink alcohol more responsibly and they would learn it in a safer environment. However, these results would not be instant by any means but over time just as in Europe people will learn from their mistakes at a younger age, which they will then carry with them into adulthood.

Another area that would experience a lot of change would be law enforcement and prisons. If the law were to be changed many things would happen, first of all there would be significantly less money spent on maintaining prisoners in jail which is money saved for the state that can be used for other things. On that same note law enforcement would also change slightly due to less time and money spent on catching under aged kids drinking alcohol (which they will do anyway) and more time and money spent on catching actual criminals for hard drugs and other crimes.

There are many people who support changing the legal drinking age to 18, however there are also many people who do not support the change. Those who oppose lowering the drinking age have a very different view on the effect lowering the drinking age would have in america. Non-supporters believe that lowering the drinking age would create a more chaotic and dangerous society for everyone for a number of reasons. The first thing that is brought up is alcohol related fatalities and more importantly traffic fatalities.

Those who would say lowering the age would be a bad thing would say that it would result in a skyrocket of alcohol related deaths and injuries due in part to the fact that there would be a huge number of added people that now have the ability to drink freely. Having the drinking age set at 21 keeps a lot of potentially dangerous drivers and teens off the roads and out of bars till they are old enough to handle the responsibility of drinking alcohol openly and freely.

Those who oppose lowering the drinking age would also say that it would result in a lot more spending on the part of the state and families. The more people with the ability to drink the more accidents and other costly incidents that will happen which in turn end up getting paid for by parents, insurance companies and the government. Things such as road repair from accidents and hospital bills from people being brought to the hospital for alcohol related injuries. The lowering of the minimum legal drinking age from 21 to 18 is a reasonable and right thing to do.

Reasonable because having a lower drinking age has been proven to be very effective and has benefitted other countries by way of creating more responsible and experienced adults. Not only that but it would also create a less hectic and more efficient society that will benefit everyone through ways of decreased crime and arrest but also through less spending on law enforcement and prisons. It would be right because if an eighteen year old can join the army and die for his country then he/she should be able to crack open a beer.

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