A minimum age of 21 helps save lives by preventing teens and young adults from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. The laws limit who can purchase and drink alcohol as well as limiting the amount of alcohol a minor can have in his or her bloodstream at any particular time.
When the legal age limit was changed, did crashes reduce?
Yes. In fact, states saw an average of 16 percent fewer crashes. On top of that, drinking among those between the ages of 21 and 25 also decreased, which is a side effect of limiting alcohol to younger teens and adults. Overall, the change reduced intoxication on the roads for many drivers, not just those under the age of 21.
How many people below the age of 21 are affected by those who drink and drive underage?
It’s been estimated by the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey that 10 percent of high school students drank before driving in the last 30 days. Another 22 percent of those in high school had ridden with someone who had been drinking, putting both their lives in danger.
What can you do if you’ve been stopped for drinking and driving when underage?
Drinking underage is a crime on its own, but driving while intoxicated while still a minor puts you in a difficult position. You may be able to defend yourself by explaining why your tests came back positive. For instance, if you drank with family or for religious purposes, then the zero tolerance laws may not apply to your case. However, your attorney will need to work with you to determine the best defense for your situation.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Fact Sheets – Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age,” accessed Sep. 23, 2016