Thursday, January 08, 2009

Improve Safety - Lower Drinking Age and Raise Driving Age

College presidents spark debate on drinking age by the Associated Press reported that college presidents, in 2008, were calling for consideration to lower the drinking age to 18. Currently, the drinking age is 21. While states have the authority to change the drinking age, any state that lowers the age below 21 will lose federal highway funds. Also some groups, such as MADD, oppose lowering the drinking age due to the potential increase of drunk driving among teens.

Here's my solution: Raise the driving age to 21 at the same time. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds. Although they make up 7% of all licensed drivers, this group has 14% of the fatalities and 20% of the accidents. For additional statistics see Teen Driving Statistics at Ezine Articles and Your Guide to Understanding Insurance.

Based on my own experience, I would support reducing the age of drinking alcohol to 18. When I was in college, the drinking age was 18, and I don't recall as many issues, such as binge drinking or alcohol related deaths, happening on campus. It seemed 18-21 year olds didn't abuse the privilege as much when it was legal.

I would also support raising the driving age to 21. Most of my close calls with accidents occurred in my teens. Although I did have a license during college, very few of us drove during the school year since owning a car was expensive, especially when it was used infrequently. Between on campus life, good public transportation, and a bike, we could get to just about anywhere needed.

Thus, when I was in college, being drunk was not a potential hazard for others, since we weren't driving. The worse thing that happened to someone I knew was falling down while walking or stumbling into the wrong dorm room.

For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

This is not financial, driving policy, or drinking policy advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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