When I moved to Texas in 1979, everyone in the car could have an open container…even the driver. I thought you’d get a citation if you didn’t drink and drive. We’ve totally evolved since those glory days (or, as some of my friends call them, the R.I.P. days). Eventually, the law changed and only passengers could have an open container (or a road sodie, as they were called). This way, the driver could merely hand their beverage over to a passenger before the officer approached the car…brilliant. I’m sure the laws in the state that I moved here from were no better. In fact, most bars never closed. Which also means they didn’t clean up. You needed a tetanus shot before you’d go into one of those places. And, as far as underage drinking went, the legal age to drink went from 21 down to 18. Then it went up to 19 for awhile and kind of hovered there. Then it eventually went back up to 21. Somewhere in between, I recall the drinking age being around 8 (maybe that was south of the border). People from European countries say they don’t have an underage drinking problem because they don’t “glamorize” drinking like we do here in the states. And their laws are strict and swift. So, would lowering the drinking age make it less attractive to teens? MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) says not. When states had lower legal drinking ages in America, the underage drinking problem was worse. Underage drunk drivers were involved in over twice as many fatal accidents.
A few months ago, there was a rumor going around on the interweb (that’s what my dad calls it) that the drinking age was going to be raised to 25. It was apparently just a myth. Kind of like celebrity deaths on the internet. That has to be super creepy to the celebrities themselves. 25 years of age is apparently when the frontal lobe completely develops. Better, more rational, adult decision making comes into play after 25 (hopefully). But not everyone matures at the same pace as others.
According to MADD, more than 25,000 lives have been saved in the U.S. because of the 21 minimum legal drinking age. They claim that the law continues to prevent tragedies and therefore decreases crashes by an estimated 16% and keeps young people safer from many other risks as well (such as alcohol poisoning, and aspiration).
Even after 21, it is encouraged to take a cab or Uber if you have consumed any alcohol. In fact, MADD has teamed up with Uber to encourage this. Uber’s revolutionary app connects users with safe, reliable rides at the touch of a button. Those are rides you can count on, whenever and wherever, so that people never have to get behind the wheel drunk.
After all, the easier it is to get a safe ride, the less likely adults are to drive after drinking.
Until next week….
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Underage Drinking – Comedy Defensive Driving