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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/1/16

Lucky 21

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Author 507533
Message Michael Walsh
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I am an oxy-moron. I am a college student, surrounded in a binge-drinking culture with the idea that the legal drinking age should be kept at 21 years old. First, many of my peers would argue that the legal drinking age should be changed back to eighteen like it once was in the seventies, because at eighteen they can sign up for the military and volunteer to risk their life for their country. The two have nothing to do with each other. Although at the age of 18 there are many legal abilities, it would be medically irresponsible to lower the age knowing what alcohol does to the brain. If alcohol is consumed at a lower age, there is a direct relationship to have alcohol dependence later in life. Along with being medically irresponsible, there are also other regulations in America that are not dependent on the age a citizen can enlist in the military. An individual cannot rent a car, go into a casino, or run for president unless they meet certain age requirements. Using the college student's argument, an eighteen-year-old should be able to run for President of the United States. Consuming alcohol is not a fundamental right given by the Constitution.

The next argument a typical college student would make is that the legal drinking age in other countries is 18, and these countries have far less alcohol-related driving deaths. The problem with this argument is the amount that other countries drive as well as the underlying culture of the country. Raising the drinking age to 21 has lowered the amount of teens that consume alcohol relative to the countries with legal drinking ages of 18. The restriction on the legal age to drink has inadvertently caused there to be an increase in college binge drinking in America. The law should not change but the culture behind this phenomenon should.

One of my friends when having this argument said, "wait but if you look at the speed limit increases in each individual state, there is a direct correlation to the number of fatal accidents." The fact of the matter is, is that studies show that drivers care less and less about the speeds limit posted in general and it depends more on the individual driver's preferences. Some studies show that if the drivers actually do reduce their speed based on the speed-limit change, then the drivers' speed change is not significant enough to make a difference on accidents.

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Another final major argument that I believe has the most ground that a college student who is in favor of lowering the drinking age will make is that the legal drinking-age statistics in correlation to drunk driving are skewed. They are skewed because along with raising the age of drinking there has been an increase in awareness in drunk driving. The counter is that since the law was passed, the amount of alcohol consumption has been reduced. There has been a decrease in the amount of alcohol-related deaths by car drivers as well as the amount of people who are driving drunk.

In conclusion, the legal drinking age was made 21 in response to the epidemic of drunk driving in the 1970s. Since then, the number of drunk drivers has gone down, the number of teenage drinkers of alcohol is lowered compared to other countries, and there are fewer alcohol-related deaths on the road. Those facts all lined up in one sentence make it hard to argue for the lowering of the drinking age back to 18.

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Lucky 21