Lowering the Drinking Age to 19

Lowering the Drinking Age to 19

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Brendan Tewksbury started this petition to Congress

In 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed to force states into raising their drinking age to 21 or lose up to 10% of their federal highway funding. However, since the voting age and drafting age were 18, some legislators didn't feel strongly about enforcing the minimum age of 21. Some states were able to avoid the change. These inconsistent laws caused people to leave their state to drink and then drive drunk back over the state border. This was referred to as “blood borders” because of the rise in alcohol related accidents. This rise was used as evidence of the dangers of having a drinking age of 18. When the drinking age was again nationally raised to 21, the decrease in accidents was attributed to the law's success despite it being based on flawed statistics and an increase in seatbelt and airbag use as well as the general improvement of 21st century car safety functions. 

Once teens get older, they get exposed to drinking, whether that’s from their relatives, peers, or the media. They see the fun of it and aren't exposed to the major side effects. By lowering the drinking age, family members, universities and other good influences could guide young adults through responsible drinking. They could teach them the do's and don'ts and how to stay safe while still having a good time. The drinking age being 21 only tempts more teens to drink while they are young because it is forbidden.
 
18 years old is the legally recognized age of adulthood, and 21 is the legally recognized minimum age to purchase alcohol and nicotine products, but science shows that the brain isn’t truly matured until age 25.  At age 21, the prefrontal cortex, which controls decision-making, isn’t fully developed.  So why is the legal drinking age 21 and not 19?  In the two years difference, there isn’t much change in the brain’s development of decision-making skills.  To change the drinking age to 19 makes sense because at this point, many students are outside of high school and transition to college, which is a big step in the developmental journey of a young adult. Drinking alcohol is a big responsibility, and students going to college are ready to become more independent and make better decisions. Drinking is also a large social part of becoming a college student. According to Washington Post, 80% of college students report they have had a drink. The age of 21 is not effective, and it should be changed to 19. 

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