, Research Paper
The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered to Eighteen
Why is it that eighteen-year-olds can legally obtain a driver’s license, register to vote, be forced into jury duty or a draft, can be tried as an adult and even put to death, but cannot buy and consume alcoholic beverages legally? I think these laws are very contradicting. Eighteen-year-olds are supposed to be adults, responsible for their own actions, yet they must wait until the age of twenty-one to consume alcoholic beverages legally. The way to solve underage consumption is to allow those who are eighteen-years-old the ability to buy and consume alcohol legally. It seems absurd that this should be an exception.
Many people may think that lowering the drinking age will be more deadly on the highways. However, if young adults were more informed about the importance of a designated driver when intoxicated, for example, perhaps the outcome would be more positive.
Stricter law enforcement would also aid in the prevention of alcohol-related accidents. They could enact a zero tolerance policy, which would punish anyone who is caught in the act of an alcohol-related crime on the first offense, such as drunk driving.
Raising the driving age to eighteen instead of sixteen could also reduce traffic accidents in general. I think that sixteen is too young to be given power over a weapon as deadly as an automobile. However, since the legal driving age is sixteen, perhaps lawmakers should enact training requirements that are stricter for new drivers. For example, they could require more driving time with a certified instructor, or give them a probationary license for the first six months of their licensure.
Even though there have been many cases of irresponsible drinking by those under the age of twenty-one, I believe they can be taught to drink responsibly. Parental figures can teach young adults how to be responsible drinkers and about the consequences of irresponsible drinking. If they start at an early age, perhaps the number of alcohol-related incidents would decrease. Schools could also aid in the awareness of alcohol and its effects. They could make alcohol awareness classes mandatory for young adults. This may make today s young adults more aware of the seriousness of alcohol.
In many countries, drinking alcohol is part of everyday life for an eighteen-year-old. As they grow up, they are taught by their parents to drink responsibly. So far, this way of life appears to work for some countries. By returning the legal drinking age to eighteen and teaching young adults how to drinking responsibly, perhaps they would no longer see alcohol as a deviant action, but as a substance that is meant to be enjoyed mature young adults.
Keeping the drinking age at twenty-one is also unfair to responsible eighteen to twenty-year-olds. Why should they be punished for those who are irresponsible? From my own personal experience, I have found that it is very frustrating to be a nineteen-year-old college student. I consider myself to be a mature nineteen-year-old, and I feel that I could drink responsibly, if I were permitted to do so legally. I don t understand why we are considered to be legal adults, and are expected to play the role accordingly, if we lack the ability to legally have a drink with friends. I feel that it is very degrading, not to mention embarrassing, to have to wear the black “X” on each hand, rather than the orange bracelet on my wrist. If the drinking age were lowered, there would still be young people that would abuse this privilege; however, with time there would be fewer abuses.
In a land built on individual freedom, it is strange that we are sent out in the world as adults, yet denied the opportunity to make such a simple choice. I think eighteen-year-olds should be granted this opportunity.