Right now, all 50 states have a minimum legal drinking age of 21. Some states, though, have also implemented expanded underage drinking laws. Those additional laws were the focus of research done by a team at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) in Calverton, Maryland, and published in the March 2016 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Of the 20 expanded underage drinking laws that were identified, nine were found to be particularly effective in reducing the number of fatal crashes involving underage drivers who had been drinking.
The nine minimum legal drinking age laws associated with significant decreases in fatal crash ratios of underage drinking drivers were:
- Possession of alcohol
- Purchase of alcohol
- Use alcohol and lose your license
- Zero tolerance .02 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for underage drivers
- Age of bartender 21+
- State responsible beverage service program
- Fake identification support provisions for retailers
- Dram shop liability
- Social host civil liability
It’s estimated that these particular laws are currently saving about 1,100 lives per year in states that have these laws. The researchers estimate that if all states adopted them, an additional 210 lives could be saved each year.
Research suggests that adolescents and young adults with substance use disorders have a good chance of becoming clean and sober, especially when two factors are present: first, when a drug and alcohol treatment center that knows how to address one’s needs is chosen, and when family members are involved in the drug and/or alcohol rehab process. Contact our Admissions Office at 800-785-2400 if you or your loved one needs help.