English 1A Essay 4

Submitted By asalv007
Words: 1687
Pages: 7

Alex Salgado
Mrs. Sullivan
English 1A
2 December 2013
Minimum Legal Drinking Age Legislators in the United States rose the drinking age to 21 in all 50 states driven by an interest group named Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), however exceptions do exist on a state-by-state basis for drinking on private property, under adult supervision, and other reasons. Supporters of M.A.D.D. suggest that with the recent drinking age change thousands of lives have been saved. Opponents of the Drinking Age Limit believe that the decline in fatal crashes involving alcohol does not correlate with the Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) and a majority of young adults are going around the law and consuming alcohol anyways. Robert B. Voas, A. Scott Tippetts, and James C. Fell are researchers at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation who have wrote Accident Analysis and Prevention; which supports the drinking age limit by focusing on the decline of fatal crashes and the amount of high school seniors giving up alcohol. Michelle Minton is a well-known writer and spokesperson whose work has been cited by and published in USA Today and Wall Street Journal. Minton argues against the other authors in her context, The Legal Drinking Age Has Not Been Effective by explaining that the drop in fatalities due to collision are based on other reasons and showing that the drinking age law is obsolete. Although these two opposing views have very distinct key points, they can both agree that there has been a plunge in the number of fatal crashes that involve alcohol, increase in safety equipment, and a struggling effort to enforce MLDA. In Accident Analysis and Prevention, Voas, Tippetts, and Fell argue that there has been a significant decline in alcohol-related fatal crashes and cases of underage drinking because the Minimum Legal Drinking Age was raised to 21 and the addition of the Zero Tolerance law. The Zero Tolerance Act made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with a concentrated blood alcohol rate of .01 or more. Voas, Scott, and Tippetts discuss an effect of the drinking age by writing, “Hingson et al. (1994) studied the first 12 states that adopted these laws and found a 20% decline in nighttime fatal crashes (a surrogate for alcohol-related crashes) as compared to similar states without such laws” (Para. 7). The first few states that adopted more strict drinking laws saw a decline in their fatal crashes according to the Hingston study; other states that did not adopt these types of laws had more fatal crashes compared to the ones that did. Over that time period, 1 in 5 alcohol related fatal collisions was prevented because the MLDA according to the study provided by Voas, Scott, and Tippetts. The study continues with the decline of underage drinking, “During that period among high school seniors, alcohol use in the past month dropped from 69.7 to 52.7%, and the number of binge drinkers (those having five or more drinks on a single occasion) dropped from 40.5 to 31.3%” (Voas, Tippetts, Fell). The study discussed in the Accident Analysis and Prevention research paper showed that during the time the Minimum Legal Drinking Age was lifted to 21, a substantial amount of seniors in high school reported to drink less than before. These laws placed in order to stop underage drinking not only intimidated people under the age of 21, but it also lowered the amount of drinking between teens in high school. Michelle Minton disagrees with the findings that occurred after raising the drinking age limit in her essay, The Legal Drinking Age Has Not Been Effective. Minton explains her view on the findings when writing, “The often cited decrease in traffic fatalities since the nationwide introduction of MLDA 21 can be attributed to higher safety standards, law enforcement, and airbags and safety belts rather than to the increase in the legal drinking age” (Para. 1). Minton explains that it is ridiculous to think that the drop in fatal