When teenagers turn 18, they are told that they are adults and are allowed to
vote, get a job, marry or join the military. They do grown-up things like pay taxes
and become parents, but they can ‘t go to the bar for a beer. When it comes to
alcohol they are still just kids. Where’s the fairness in the age being 21 and not 18?
Why is 21 the “magical” age that makes one intelligent and mature enough to
consume alcohol? In today’s world one of the biggest arguments is about the legal
age of consuming alcohol. All across the world, there are different drinking ages
which differ from country to country. Each country has their own reasoning behind
the age restriction. In the United States we know, the legal drinking age is 21. “In
Nepal and China, the legal drinking age is 18” Larson, J. (2022, February 10).
Likewise, many countries have their own legal drinking age set in between 16 to
21. Across the country, college students participate in an illegal activity known as
underage drinking. The drinking age in America is an ongoing debate of whether it
should be kept at 21, or reduced to 18. While some believe lowering the drinking
age would make drinking for young kids safer, others presume the opposite.In this
paper, I will talk about why the legal drinking age should be lowered to ensure the
safety of an individual and to grow the overall economy of the country.
I believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Once someone is 18,
a person is legally considered an adult and should be able to drink. Some “perks”
of being an adult include: the right to get married, buy a house, or be charged as an
adult in a court of law. Proponents of lowering the drinking age may say if one can
buy a house, why can he not buy an alcoholic beverage? On the other hand,
lowering the drinking age would also help to improve the economic growth of the
country. With allowing more people to legally drink, there would be an increase in
revenue. It would decrease the unsafe drinking activities, reduce numbers of
accidents and arrest. There would be more alcohol purchases from stores and
licensed businesses. There would also be an increase in the manufacturing of
alcohol which creates new jobs for farming, brewing and distribution of alcohol. In
all aspects of the economy there would be an increase in revenue as people can
legally purchase alcohol from the stores and more jobs are created.
I argue that the drinking age should be reduced to 18 on the basis that it will
make drinking safer. Many people drink illegally because of the age limit 21. After
high school, people go to college and they are exposed to alcohol because of others
that are legally allowed to drink.Lowering the drinking age takes the taboo of
drinking away. If the age is lower, it will not seem like the cool thing to do. There
will not be as much peer pressure. If the drinking age is lowered, they can drink in
bars and restaurants instead of parties unsupervised. Teaching responsible drinking
to the younger adults would not be hard. Teaching them to know their limits and
boundaries would be pretty simple. Many people are exposed to alcohol before
they reach the age of 21 and they are tempted to do it because of peer pressure. The
legal drinking age should be lowered to 18 and young adults should be allowed to
drink in controlled environments such as restaurants, pubs and official school and
university. The idea is, if the drinking age is lowered, youth will be able to drink in
open, public places that can be supervised by others. By being public, it would
decrease the risky behavior seen with alcohol in private, unsupervised settings.
Some undesirable activities that are associated with underage drinking include the
making and distributing of fake ID’s. If the drinking age is decreased, then there
would be no need for such items.
Although opponents to lowering the drinking age would argue a lowered
drinking age would increase drunk driving accidents, that is not particularly true.
People believe that enforcing the legal drinking age of 21 reduces traffic crashes,
protects young people’s maturing brains, and keeps young people safer.But I don’t
think enforcing the legal drinking age of 21 will reduce such incidents.Germany,
for example, has a minimum drinking age of eighteen. “In a study conducted in
1998, only 17% of car accidents that year involved an intoxicated driver compared
to the United States 38.6% in 1998 ” NHTSA, (2018, December 19). “France,
another country with a minimum drinking age of eighteen, also had less alcohol
related motor accidents than the United States. In the same study, it was found that
in 1998 only 19% of motor vehicle accidents in France involved alcohol ”
NHTSA, (2018, December 19). Compared to the United States 38.6%, the
conclusion can be drawn that the drinking age does not directly correlate to the
amount of alcohol related road accidents. The choice to drive intoxicated is what
makes those involved irresponsible; age not being a relevant factor.
Fig 1: Accidents in Germany Caused by Driver Error
Figure 1 shows information about accidents caused by various factors such
as overtaking, incorrect road use, and the influence of alcohol. Despite a legal
drinking age of 18 in Germany accidents caused by alcohol influence are very
low.People in Germany are allowed to drink in an open area and are under
supervision which reduces various accidents as they aren’t exposed to alcohol
under peer pressure. So we can conclude that lowering the drinking age is not a
major issue for accidents.
Fig 2: Drink and Drive Accidents
Figure 2 above shows the information on traffic fatalities in the USA.
Compared to Germany, the USA has higher alcohol -impaired traffic fatalities. In
countries unlike Germany and France, teenagers are raised in a different way and
grow up differently than teenagers in American culture. They have a culture of
drinking in groups to socialize among families and friends. Drinking in America
for young teenagers has always been about partying and having fun. This is why
using other countries to compare their drinking age to ours does not make any
sense. It has also been an argument that restricting teenagers only leads to binge
drinking. So people should be allowed to drink legally at the age of 18 to reduce
various road accidents.
The drinking age in America should be lowered because 18 is the age of
adulthood and adults should have the right to make their own decisions about
alcohol consumption. Lowering the drinking age will diminish the thrill of
breaking the law to get a drink, and promote safer drinking habits. The current
drinking age of 21 is not effective because it does not stop underage drinking from
going on, therefore, it would be much more beneficial to lower the drinking age to
18 and enforce it. After all, this is the land of the free and 18 year olds should be
allowed to make their own decision about consuming alcohol.It should be
switched to a European style of drinking which will help to reduce various
accidents and unethical events in the community as they won’t be exposed to binge
drinking.By introducing alcohol earlier in students lives, the opportunity to teach
proper alcohol usage is present, and, in turn, would minimize these issues. The
current drinking age is counterproductive and a reformation in legislation is
necessary. The reasons I believe that it should be lowered is because it would
improve the economy, it would decrease the unsafe drinking activities, and being
an adult, they should be able to make their own decisions.