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Nancy Barranco
ENG 111
8 December 2015
Drinking Age
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that
Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) 21 decreased the number of fatal traffic accident for 18to 20 year olds by 13% and saved approximately 27,052 lives Teenage accidents were
increasing in state in which the legal drinking age was 18, according to a report in 1970. A
simple change like increasing the legal drinking age can save up 27,052 lives, why not increase
the age? The drinking age has been a controversial topic for many years, whether 18 years old is
too young or if 21 really is the appropriate age to consume alcohol. The opposing side argues
that, if at18 years old an individual is consider a legal adult in the United States, why are they not
allowed to consume alcohol. Even though 18 is the age of adulthood, the drinking age should
not be lowered, with some exceptions, because majority of the public support the age 21,
the brain has not yet been fully developed, and by lowering the drinking age the number of
accidents will increase.
Majority of the public support the legal age 21 according to a 2007 Gallup poll. The
Gallup poll had found that about 77% of Americans would disagree with a federal law that
lowers age to 18. Not 24% or 32% but more than half the American population; therefore, there
is a small probability for a law, in which majority agree on, to be changed. Parents are the few
who disagree on this law and are the most concerned.

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Where do underage drinkers obtain alcohol in the first place? Form his or her 21 year
olds buddies. Parents are concern about lowering the MLDA because parents are frightened for
their 15 or 16 year old child to be exposed to alcohol. If 18-to-20 year olds obtain alcohol from
their 21-to24- year old friends, what would stop 15 or 16 year old teens to purchase alcohol from
their 18 year old friend. Not only can middle school students obtain alcohol more easily but also
can cause harm themselves and other individuals around.
A new phase of independence comes when entering the age 18 and majority tend to enjoy
his or her independences by acting reckless. Some are transitioning from a high school life to a
college life, other are even leaving home for the first time. 18 year olds are more likely to fall
for binge drinking, risky sexual behavior, and other irresponsible behavior due to lack of
maturity, according to US Federal Commission (FTC).
At the age of 18 the brain has not yet fully developed. Alcohol consumption can
interfere with development of the young adult brains frontal lobes, essential for functions such
as emotional regulation, planning and organization (US Department of Human and Services).
The age in which the brain fully develops is 25; however, most individuals would immediately
oppose 25 to be the minimum dinking age. When an individual consumes alcohol before 18,
certain parts of the brain beginning to be interrupted. This could result in addiction further in the
future. An addiction most common associated with alcohol is binge drinking. Binge drinking
among 21-25 year olds are 45.9%. While the binge drinking for rates of those aged 12-13,1415,16-17,and 18-20 are 1.5%,7.8%, 19.4% and 35.7%. according to National Survey on Drug
Use and Health. Already young teenagers are binge drinking unconsciously because their body
has been accustomed to certain amount of alcohol in their body that the body urges more and

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more. While intoxicated a person is not aware of his or her actions and could lead to regretful
Sarah is a high school student who recently turned 18. She decided today was her night to
consume alcohol for the first time. (The legal age in this scenario is 18). She has no one to drive
her home and decides to drive herself. Upon turning the curve, she did not notice a car
approaching. The bright headlights blinded her and caused her to crash her vehicle. After a
couple of minutes, paramedics came rushing to her aid but it was too late. Many individuals, like
Sarah want to have a good time at the age of 18 but do not know how to have a good time
responsibly. Consuming alcohol can increase the number of car accidents. According to James C.
Fell, editor of An Examination of the Criticisms of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 Laws in
the United States from a Traffic- Safety Perspective, 76% of bars have sold alcohol to
obviously intoxicated patrons and about half of drivers arrested for driving while intoxicated
(DWI) or killed as alcohol involved drivers. 18 year olds expect their freedom and the famous
phrase every upcoming adult would say I can do whatever I want because I am legally an adult
There are, however, some exception to the rules. The number of states that have made
exception are 45. For religious purposes, medical use, government related purposes, education
purpose, when reporting medical need due to underage drinking for another minor, on alcohol
selling premises with parent consent, on private non-alcohol premises with parental consent and
on private non-alcohol selling premises without parental consent. These eight exceptions are
allowed in some states. With these exceptions, 18 year olds are given a small portion of their
freedom without hurting them mentally or psychically.

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The opposing side argue, 18 year is the age of adulthood and that adults should have
their freedom. At the age of 18, one can vote, smoke cigarettes, serve on juries, get married,
sign contracts, be prosecutes as adults, and join the military. Yes, certain things can be done at
the age of 18 but there are certain legal obligation that cannot be done at 18 as well. For instance,
there is a legal age for becoming a president. In order to be eligible for becoming a president the
age requirement is 35. If 18 years is the age of adulthood, as the opponent side states, why not
present the United States with an 18 year old president? Because of the experience needed to run
a county and frankly at the age of 18 an individual is not fully matured. To purchase a handgun,
gamble in casino, or adopt a child the age requirement is 21. Renting a car, the age requirement
is 25. Some of the previous mentionable things have a certain age requirement because 18 years
old is not age where the brain has not fully developed. If becoming a president, gambling, or
renting a car have age requirements, so should consuming alcohol.
The drinking age should not be lowered to 18 because majority of the public support the
legal age 21,the brain is not yet fully develop until-the age of 25, and increases the number of car
accidents,. Even though 18 year olds have the right to vote or die for their country and have the
freedom to do almost anything, drinking should have an age requirement. The age of 18 is not an
age in which many individuals have fully develop their brains. Consuming alcohol can interfere
with the growth of the brain and affect certain parts of the brain like memory and lead to
addition. The drinking age should be set to 21 but with some exceptions and keep the street safe
from intoxicated irresponsible drivers.

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Work Cited Page

Amethyst Initiative, "Statement," (accessed Oct. 20, 2010)
David Eby, "The Convicted Drunk Driver in Michigan: A Profile of Offenders," UMTRI
research Review, 1995
James C. Fell, "Drinking Age 21: Facts, Myths and Fictions," American Association for
Automotive Medicine, 1985
Joseph Carroll, "Most Americans Oppose Lowering Legal Drinking Age to 18 Nationwide,", July 27, 2007
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Traffic Safety Facts,", 2008
US Department of Human Health and Services (DHHS), "The Surgeon General's Call to Action
to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking,", 2007
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), "Dangers of Teen Drinking,"
(accessed Oct. 20, 2010)