According to a recent Gallup poll, only 25 percent of Americans are in favor of lowering the minimum drinking age. A whopping 74 percent of Americans oppose such a notion, even though there are certainly questions about the law’s effect on binge drinking amongst younger people.
This is the problem with even introducing the possibility of lowering the minimum drinking age: social standards dictate that it shouldn’t happen. Simply bringing up the idea makes it seem as though a person is advocating for the United States to just become a lawless party nation where anything goes. Teens will be drinking and driving all over the place and there will be fatal drunk driving accidents on every street corner, or so the exaggerated view of this imaginary world goes.
However, to the contrary, the point of bringing up this matter is actually a serious proposition. By setting the minimum drinking age so high, we are sending the message to young people that alcohol is this “forbidden fruit” that simply shouldn’t be approached. Being the curious rebels that young people naturally are, they seek out this forbidden substance. It makes drinking more enticing to them. By lowering the drinking age — and increasing education about the risks of alcoholic beverages — it is conceivable that the new minimum could have a positive impact.
Back to the here and now: remember that in the state of Minnesota, underage drinking and driving is a “zero tolerance” offense. That means any alcohol in a person’s system means they can be arrested for driving under the influence if they are under 21.
Source: Gallup, “Americans Still Oppose Lowering the Drinking Age,” Jeffrey M. Jones, July 24, 2014