As discussed in a prior article, the United States is unique among wealthy countries in that its drinking age is relatively high. Alcohol affects teenagers much faster and much harder than adults, which is why the U.S. drinking age is higher than other countries. This article will discuss the remaining reasons that underpin why the drinking age is 21.
It is a common myth that parents can impress responsible drinking habits upon their children. To this end, in some states, parents are allowed to share alcohol with their children, but typically not with other children. However, there is evidence demonstrating that once teens believe their parents approve of their drinking, they will drink more and engage in riskier behavior.
As discussed in a prior article, Europe has a lower drinking age and experiences far higher rates of alcohol-related issues than the United States. Once upon a time in the U.S., the drinking age was lower in several states. Those states experienced significantly higher rates of drunk driving and other alcohol crimes, similar to Europe. So the argument that "making alcohol less of a big deal" does not work and encourages more teenage drinking.
Some argue that implementing a mandatory alcohol course for teenagers, similar to a driver's education course, would be a workable compromise. However, if the significantly higher rates of teenage car accidents are any indication, education alone is insufficient. Moreover, teenage drivers are subject to other limitations, such as passenger restrictions and curfews. It would be difficult to implement similar restrictions on teenage drinking because most of it is done within homes, so there is no opportunity for outside enforcement.
If your child was charged with driving while under the influence, then you may want to speak with a criminal defense attorney. These charges, while typically manageable, are still very serious. If the prosecutor decides to make an example of your son or daughter, then you will want a defense attorney on your side to prepare a defense. These cases can carry serious consequences for your child's future.