Flashback to 1971

By Grant Hensley

For the past four years of my college life there has been a massive amount of underage tickets handed out and most of them were for some unwarranted reason.

Almost every developed country in the world has set the drinking age at 18, and yet the United States still maintains that one must be 21 to drink alcohol legally. With all of the controversy and practical new laws being enacted to make highways and roads safer, there are plenty of reasons to revisit the drinking age.

Laws were made in all states that made it illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase and drink alcohol in 1980s. These laws were directed toward decreasing the amount of traffic deaths that occurred due to younger drivers. Although this approach has dramatically decreased the amount of deaths caused by drunk drivers, it still leaves out all the negatives and positives that could occur if the drinking age is 19, instead.

As someone who has seen and the effects of alcohol since late high school, I do not see the problem being stopping young adults from obtaining alcohol. It’s more of a question of how we should educate and go about showing young individuals the right way to use alcohol. Underage kids have always found ways to find alcohol. Whether it be stealing from their parents or attending a party where alcohol is available. After these underage drinkers get exposed to alcohol, some will handle it. But the majority will have trouble with problem drinking. Some will even be a part of one of these deadly drunk driving accidents.

Even though DUI’s and drinking tickets have greatly discouraged many underage drinkers from driving, there are always those few who will break the law, endangering themselves and the lives of others. Putting the legal limit at 19, would stop most of the high school kids from drinking. Most kids not only would have to wait another year to be legal, but also law enforcement resources could be focused on better applications of the law rather than less trivial drinking tickets.

Many well-developed countries have realized for some time that drinking is not the issue; but what is taught and to the next generation about alcohol makes the biggest impact. So, instead of continuing to waste time and resources on giving tickets to a 20 years, 11 month old, the United States should lower to drinking age to 19 and then the country could concentrate on showing the next generation how to practice safe and constructive drinking.

Hensley is a senior public relations major student