In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Purchase Age Act, to encourage each state to enact a minimum legal purchase age (MLPA) of 21 by 1986. The result was impressive: an estimated 1,071 lives were saved in 1987 alone. From 1975 - 1996, the estimated number of lives saved reached nearly 17,000.(2) In addition to a 63% decline in alcohol-related crash fatalities among young drivers since 1982, findings show that the MLPA has decreased the number of DWI arrests, youth suicides, marijuana use, crime, and alcohol consumption by youth.(3,4)
Fatalities, Crashes, and DWI Arrests
Other Alcohol-Related Problems
1. Jim Hall, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, at press conference on the National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, Washington, DC, December 18, 1997.
2. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts 1996: Alcohol, 1997.
3. NHTSA, 1995 Youth Fatal Crash and Alcohol Facts, February 1997.
4. New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Minimum Legal Purchase Age and Traffic Safety: Facts and Practices, January 1996.
5. OMalley, PM and AC Wagenaar, Effects of Minimum Age Laws on Alcohol Use, Related Behaviors and Traffic Crash Involvement Among American Youth: 1976 - 1987, Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 52(5):478-491, 1991.
6. Laixuthai, A and F Chaloupka, Youth Alcohol Use and Public Policy, Contemporary Policy Issues, 11:70-81, 1993.
7. National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1971-1974 and 1976-1980.
8. Maisto, DA and JV Rachal, Indications of the Relationships Among Adolescent Drinking Practices, Related Behaviors, and Drinking-Ages Laws, In Minimum-Drinking-Age Laws, Wechsler, H (Ed.), Lexington, MA: DC Heath Co., p155-176, 1980.
9. Barnes, GM, et al., Alcohol Misuse Among College Students and Other Young Adults: Findings from a General Population Study of New York State, The International Journal of the Addictions, 27(8):917-934, 1992.
10. Bonnie, RJ, Discouraging Unhealthy Personal Choices Through Government Regulation: Some Thoughts About the Minimum Drinking Age, In Minimum-Drinking-Age Laws, Wechsler, H (Ed.), Lexington, MA: DC Heath Co., p39-58, 1980.
11. Cook, PJ and G Tauchen, The Effects of Minimum Drinking Age Legislation on Youthful Auto Fatalities, 1970 - 1977, Journal of Legal Studies, 15(4):159-162, 1984.
12. Arizona Department of Public Safety, An Impact Assessment of Arizonas Lowered Legal Drinking Age and a Review of Previous Research, Statistical Center, 1981.
13. Douglas, RL and JA Freedman, Alcohol-Related Casualties and Alcohol Beverage Market Response to Beverage Alcohol Availability Policies in Michigan, The University of Michigan, Highway Safety Research Institute, 1977.
14. Hammond, RL, Legal Drinking Age at 18 or 21 -- Does It Make Any Difference? Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 18:9-13, 1973.
15. Grant, BF and DA Dawson, Age of Onset of Alcohol Use and Its Association with DSM-IV Alcohol Abuse and Dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Study, Journal of Substance Abuse, 9:103-110, 1997.
16. Mills, CJ and HL Noyes, Patterns and Correlates of Initial and Subsequent Drug Use Among Adolescents, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52(2):231-243, 1984.
17. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, Cigarettes, Alcohol, Marijuana: Gateways to Illicit Drug Use, p31, October 1994.
18. Little, PJ, et al., Differential Effects of Ethanol in Adolescent and Adult Rats, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 20(8):1346-1351, November 1996.
19. Jones, NE, et al., The Effect of Legal Drinking Age on Fatal Injuries of Adolescents and Young Adults, American Journal of Public Health, 82(1):112-115, 1992.
20. OMalley, PM and AC Wagenaar, 1991.
21. New York State Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, Drinking Age Laws and Vandalism Arrests, May 1984.
22. Smith, DI and PW Burvill, Effect on Juvenile Crime of Lowering the Drinking Age in Three Australian States, British Journal of Addiction, 83:181-188, 1987.
23. Smith, DI. Effect on Non-Traffic Accident Hospital Admissions of Lowering the Drinking Age in Two Australian States. Contemporary Drug Problems. 13(4):621-639, 1986.
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