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Study shows legal drinking age of 21 saves lives and reduces health risks for young adults

beer_022414New research shows that a minimum drinking age of 21 is associated with a lower rate of drunk driving collisions among young adults, as well as a reduction in risk of health problems related to heavy drinking, including dating violence, unsafe sex and suicide.

A piece published today in the Huffington post takes a closer look at the findings in light of arguments made by some that the age limit doesn't deter binge drinking and other health hazards. From the article:

...the new review found that since the legal drinking age was set at 21, young people have been drinking less, and are less likely to get into traffic accidents.

In fact, the age 21 laws have saved up to 900 lives yearly on the road, according to estimates from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Teen drinking and driving rates have dropped by 54 percent over the last two decades, and the biggest declines were seen between 1982 and 1995, a period which included changes in the Federal law that pushed all states to increase their drinking age to 21.

During that period, the number of fatally-injured drunk drivers decreased by 57 percent among those ages 16 to 20, compared with 39 percent for those ages 21 to 24, and 9 percent for those older than 25.

Looking at whether setting the age at 21 has driven teenagers to drink more, researchers found that psychological and social studies on drinking motivations have not supported this idea.

Previously: The costs of college binge drinking, Study estimates hospitalizations for underage drinking cost $755 million per year, CDC binge-drinking study demonstrates cell phones’ value in research, Using Facebook to assess alcohol-related problems among college students and Fighting binge drinking on campus
Photo by DeusXFlorida

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