However, when the legal drinking age dropped nationwide in the `70s, alarm bells began ringing, notes licensed clinical psychologist Suzette Glasner-Edwards, PhD, associate professor at UCLA`s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. „Research conducted after this period strongly suggested that an increase in road accidents among young people was associated with this change in the legal drinking age,” she tells Teen Vogue. „As a result, citizen efforts have begun to push states to reinstate 21 as the legal minimum age.” Since 1984, researchers have been investigating whether changes in MLDA also affect other alcohol-related problems. Of the four studies conducted so far, which looked at other social and health consequences of alcohol use, three found an inverse relationship between MLDA and alcohol-related problems: A higher legal drinking age correlated with a lower number of adolescent alcohol problems. The New York State Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (1984) found a 16% decrease in vandalism rates in four states that increased the MLDA. In a study of an increase in MLDA in Massachusetts, Hingson and colleagues (1985) found no significant change in rates of non-motor injuries, suicides, or homicides. However, Smith (1986) noted an increase in non-circulation-related hospital admissions after the decline in MLDA in two Australian states. Jones and colleagues (1992) found lower death rates from suicides, car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other injuries in states with higher MLDAs. Further research is needed to characterize the full effect of the SHS on alcohol-related injury rates and non-motor vehicle problems. The drinking age has been raised to 21 due to federal funding for highways.
Since then, alcohol consumption by high school students has decreased significantly, from 66% to 42% (see chart). Over the same period, binge drinking among high school graduates, that is, five or more drinks occasionally, decreased from 37% to 24%. The United States has one of the highest legal drinking ages in the world. Since then, some states have proposed legislation to lower the minimum drinking age to 18, but with little traction. Filed Under: Laws Tagged With: Legal drinking age, legal drinking age in the United States, When was the legal drinking age changed to 21 The legal drinking age is the minimum age to buy or drink alcoholic beverages. The minimum age for legal alcohol consumption may differ from the minimum age for purchase in some countries. After that, most states set their drinking age at 21, although some lowered it. In Canada, there is no federal law setting a minimum age for drinking.
Each province and territory can set its own legal drinking age. From 1976 to 1983, several states voluntarily raised their purchasing age to 19 (or, less frequently, 20 or 21), in part to combat drunk driving deaths. [ref. In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which required states to raise their purchasing and public ownership age to 21 in October 1986 or lose 10 percent of their federal funding for roads. By mid-1988, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had raised the age of purchase to 21 (but not Puerto Rico, Guam or the Virgin Islands, see additional notes below). South Dakota and Wyoming were the last two states to serve the 21-year term. The current drinking age of 21 remains a point of contention among many Americans because it is above the age of majority (18 in most states) and above the drinking age in most other countries. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act is also considered a circumvention of the Tenth Amendment by Congress.
Although the debates were not widely publicized, some states proposed legislation to lower their drinking age, while Guam raised the drinking age to 21 in July 2010.  While some advocate further reducing the current drinking age, the passage of the Drinking Age Act and the proliferation of lockdown systems for intoxicated offenders have contributed dramatically to reducing rates of primary and repeat intoxicated offenders. While some may disagree, these two decisions have saved lives and made our roads safer. We should all agree that this is a very good thing. In the late `70s, the vast majority of states lowered the legal drinking age to 18. This, of course, has led to a massive increase in drunk driving and deaths. Soon, it was declared a national health crisis. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH): After prohibition ended, each state developed its own policies to regulate the distribution, sale, and consumption of alcohol. In addition to the MLDA, examples of other alcohol control policies include excise taxes, restrictions on hours and days of sale, and server training.
Many of these other alcohol policies have only recently been evaluated (see Toomey et al., 1994, for a review of the research literature). Of all the alcohol control policies, the MLDA policy has been the most studied. Since the 1970s, at least 70 studies have explicitly examined the effects of increases or decreases in ALRM, with some studies using more robust research designs than others. SHS policies may have been evaluated earlier and more frequently for a variety of reasons, including: (1) a growing concern about drinking and driving among adolescents; (2) the availability of archived time series data on road accidents; (3) the fact that many states first lowered and then increased their MLDAs; and (4) preliminary research showing the significant effects of changes in MLDAs. Extensive literature reviews by Wagenaar (1983, 1993), the United States General Accounting Office (1987) and Moskowitz (1989) provide detailed summaries of many of these studies. MLDA laws were evaluated primarily based on how the MLDA amendment affects teen drinking rates and motor vehicle crashes. The temperance movement gained momentum in the 1880s when several other states passed minimum drinking age laws. Answer: Different activities have different ages of initiation: a person can drive a car at 16, participate in elections, serve in the army at 18, and serve as president at 35. These limitations are based on the demands of specific activities (e.g., motor skills, judgment, and experience) and take into account the risks and benefits of participation in different age groups (Fall, 1985).
For example, research shows that adolescents are more likely to be impaired than adults at a certain blood alcohol level. Underage drinking is closely linked to serious public health problems, including injuries and deaths from car accidents, homicides, assaults and recreational injuries. As a result, policymakers and researchers have come to believe that the risk to youth and society in general can be reduced by excluding people under the age of 21 from alcohol consumption. Q: If people can`t legally drink until they`re 21, will they just drink more when they reach MLDA? A: When the age limit for 21-year-olds was introduced, alcohol-related road accidents decreased among 18- to 20-year-olds. This decrease occurred due to limited enforcement of the MLDA laws. This decline is therefore not due to the application of impaired driving and harsher penalties, but is a direct result of lower consumption levels (O`Malley and Wageneaar, 1991). As mentioned earlier, only a tiny fraction of underage drinking cases result in fines or other penalties for establishments that sell alcohol. Reasons why law enforcement agencies do not cite or arrest illegal suppliers include (1) perceived acceptance of underage drinking by community members, (2) lack of community encouragement to strengthen MLDA enforcement, and (3) lack of resources (Wolfson et al., 1995). In the years following the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, alcohol consumption fell by 19 per cent among 18- to 20-year-olds and by 14 per cent among 21-25 year olds.
This was particularly interesting because research has shown that most minors report that alcohol is „fairly easy” or „very easy” to obtain. When it comes to alcohol, even small behavioral checks seem important, Glasner-Edwards says. „If it takes more effort, it saves the person some time to think about how important it is for them to drink at that time or to consider the possible negative consequences of alcohol consumption,” she explains. „It seems that these barriers are significant for young people to benefit from these minimum age laws.” After the repeal of prohibition, almost all state laws restricting young people`s access to alcohol set 21 as the minimum age for purchasing and consuming alcohol (Mosher, 1980). However, between 1970 and 1975, 29 states lowered the MLDA to 18, 19 or 20 years. These changes occurred at the same time as minimum age limits for other activities, such as voting, were lowered (Wechsler & Sands, 1980).