The Legal Drinking Age

The legal drinking age in the United States makes it illegal for everyone under the age of 21 to purchase or consume alcohol in public. The legal drinking age has been debated in the country since the days of prohibition over 90 years ago. Since there are arguments for both lowering and raising the legal drinking age, the debate should continue for many years to come.

Why is the Legal Drinking Age 21?

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old because of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which passed in July 1984. Prior to the passing of this law, it was up to individual states to decide their legal drinking age. This meant that people over the age of 18 may purchase alcohol in their home state while not being able to purchase it in a neighboring state. When the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed, 29 states had a legal drinking age lower than 21. While the legal drinking age is still considered a state law, any state that does not have a legal drinking age of 21 will not receive their allotted 10 percent of the national highway construction fund from the federal government. While the law passed in 1984, it was not until 1995 that every state was in compliance.

Should Drinking Age Be Lowered or Raised?

While there have been debates on the legal drinking age for nearly 100 years, it does not appear that they will stop any time soon. The increase of drunk driving fatalities among young drivers was one of the biggest reasons for the increase in the legal drinking age. The United States remains the only developed country in the world with a legal drinking age of 21. This fact has fueled the debate for supporters of a lower drinking age. If people in Europe can responsibly drink at the age of 18, then there is no reason this can’t be done in the United States. Some people also want to raise the legal drinking age because of the continued increase of drunk driving cases among young drivers in the country.

Texas Zero Tolerance Law

While some states allow consumption of alcohol under parental supervision after turning 18, Texas has a zero tolerance law when it comes to underage drinking. If someone under the age of 21 is caught with any trace of alcohol in their system while driving, then they will receive a DWI, which cause them to have their license suspended. Minors will also receive a ticket if they consume, purchase or possess alcohol in the state.

Advice for Responsible Drinking

The best way to responsibly drink is to only consume alcohol after reaching the legal drinking. It can be tough for people that just hit the legal drinking age to drink responsibly because they want to make up for lost time. Everyone handles alcohol in a different manner, so it is best to only consume a few drinks until you know your limits. If you are planning on drinking, it is also imperative that you do not drive for the rest of the night. If you have a few drinks with a small group of friends, then you will have no problem enjoying your new freedom.