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Why 21?

Chances are good that you or someone you know has been affected by the law that establishes 21 years as the minimum drinking age in the United States. Whether you’ve been charged with an M.I.P. (Minor in Possession), providing alcohol to a minor, or are simply curious, the question – why 21? – has probably come to mind at some point.

Many people see this statute as random and unfounded. Wouldn’t another age, such as 18 or 20 make more sense? However, the age of 21 is not as arbitrary as it may seem. The creators of this law, which came into effect in the 1980s, took into account a number of scientific facts and extensive research.

The CDC, or US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carefully evaluated nearly 50 studies that analyzed DUI crash statistics in a context of age and blood alcohol content. Some of the points that stood out included:

  • An increase in fatal drunk-driving wrecks from 1983 to 1989 for all age groups, save two crucial exceptions: the number for 16 to 20 and 21 to 24-year-olds decreased by 32 and 18 percent, respectively.
  • An overall decrease of 16 percent in drunk-driving accidents since the implementation of that law.
  • Disastrous consequences of “experiments” in the 1960s and 1970s that lowered the drinking age to 18 or 19, as well as more recent examples of similar trends in New Zealand.

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Frustrating or confusing as it may seem at times, the 21-year-old legal drinking age exists for a good reason. However, it is both possible and important to fight any DUI charges related to this law. If you or someone you love is facing a charge of DUI, contact the experienced Rhode Island DUI lawyer Matthew Marin today by calling 401-287-4384.