The legal drinking age in the United States is the highest in the world. In the United State the legal drinking age is 21 years old. Majority of the countries of the world – like the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa – have their legal drinking age at 18. In some parts of Europe – like in Switzerland, Spain and France – the legal drinking age is at 16 while in some parts of Africa there is no minimum age for drinking alcohol. (“Legal Drinking Age”)
The 21 year old drinking limit was imposed in 1984 upon the enactment of The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 (NMDAA) which required all states to increase their legal drinking age to 21. This act was in reaction to the numerous drunk driving incidents that occurred prior to that year. Sixty percent and 58% of fatalities were related to drunk driving in the years 1982 and 1983 respectively. (“2005 Drunk Driving Statistics”) These are the highest percentages in the past 15 years and it is due to this statistic that the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) pushed and lobbied for the bill to be enacted.
(Koroknay-Palicz) However, the law just raised the legal age for drinking but did not outlaw the consumption of drinking alcoholic beverages under the age of 21. Therefore, the NMDAA did not really prevent underage drinkers to stop drinking. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 has been contested and argued about numerous times and honestly it should be lowered to 18 years old as it was before the NMDAA. The logic behind it is very simple. At the age of 16, any American can get the license to drive.
Therefore, the law trusts a 16 year old enough to stay behind a wheel and drive in the streets. The law permits a 12 year old child to get a hunting permit allowing him to handle a weapon for hunting. The law considers an 18 year old adult enough to get married which would make him responsible over the life of his wife and his children, if they decide to have any. At 18 years old, an American is adult enough to vote and to decide as to how the country should be run and managed.
At 18 years old, an American is adult enough to go to war, putting the lives of millions under his hands and the security of the nation as part of his burden. This also means that if he is able to go to war then the assumption is that he can handle a gun and have enough wisdom to know when to shoot and when not to shoot. However, an 18 year old American is not adult enough nor wise enough nor responsible enough to buy and drink a can of beer. Neither can a 19 year old nor a 20 year old.
Research has shown that the countries with the lower legal drinking age have fewer-drinking related problems. (Hanson) There could be numerous for this. There is a saying that the forbidden fruit is far sweeter and in the United States alcoholic beverages are forbidden below the age of 21 making it a symbol of rebellion and opposition. In countries whose drinking age is lower, alcoholic beverages are common place and thus it is not used as rebellion or even as a rite of passage.
At a younger age, these people are educated about drinking far sooner and normally with the guidance of their parents allowing for proper usage of alcoholic beverages. The alcoholic beverage in itself is not bad, it is the manner in which it is used that makes it bad. So the solution to the drinking-related problems in the United States cannot be solved by a higher minimum age but can be solved by proper education. References: Korknay-Palicz, Alex. “Legislative Analysis for the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. ” 18 January 2001.
9 October 2007. <http://www. asfar. org/zine/5th/cover. html> “Legal Drinking Age. ” Alcohol Problems and Solutions. 14 July 2007. 9 October 2007. <http://www2. potsdam. edu/hansondj/LegalDrinkingAge. html> Hanson Phd. , David J. “Responses to Arguments against the Minimum Legal Drinking Age. ” 14 July 2007. 9 October 2007. <http://www2. potsdam. edu/hansondj/YouthIssues/1064263072. html> “2005 Drunk Driving Statistics. ” Alcohol Alert. 15 September 2007. 9 October 2007. <http://www. alcoholalert. com/drunk-driving-statistics. html>