According to The Century Council, an organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, alcohol related vehicle deaths have declined since 1991 by 44% across the nation. However, underage drivers are still a predominant demographic in receiving DUIs and causing accidents while under the influence of alcohol. With the legal drinking age set at 21 in the United States, some people wonder if decreasing the legal drinking age back to 18 might subsequently lessen the instances of underage kids driving under the influence of alcohol on a national scale.
Should the legal drinking age be lowered? This argument stems from the fact that many DUIs involve underage drivers who have ingested alcohol and proceeded to get behind the wheel of a vehicle afterward. Many countries across the globe allow teenagers to drink at a young age, and some theories suggest that the United States should follow suit in order to lessen occurrences of DUIs. However, a lower drinking age does not stop people from driving under the influence; many countries with a lower drinking age still encounter many instances of DUIs and accidents involving intoxicated drivers.
Almost 30 years ago, the national drinking age was raised from 18 to 21. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 instituted a mandatory requirement for all states to adhere to the national change in legal drinking age in order to receive federal highway funding. Since then, research supports that there has been a drop in DUIs and alcohol related vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration credits the higher drinking age with reducing alcohol related fatalities on the road.
In 2009, there were 281 people under the age of 18 arrested for driving under the influence in New Jersey alone and 18 out of 149 alcohol impaired driving fatalities involved people under the age of 21. Although these numbers are scary, impaired driving fatalities have been in a steady decline since the raising of the legal drinking age. So whether you agree with the set drinking age or think it should be lowered, DUIs and vehicle crashes involving intoxicated drivers are still prevalent in America. Regardless of the drinking age, victims of crashes with drivers who are under the influence are at risk of serious injury and even death. If you or someone you know has been in a DUI related vehicle accident in the state of New Jersey, contact an NJ personal injury attorney for legal advice.
Console & Hollawell are award winning attorneys practicing in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for over 17 years, and their results speak for themselves. They are dedicated to seeking justice for victims of accidents and personal injury, and work hard to protect the rights of their clients. If you are a victim of personal injury, we can help. Take the first step and call us today at 1-866-778-5500.