Last updated on: 9/8/2022 | Author:


The background and pro and con arguments were written by staff based upon input from the following sources.


1."Platform Plank: Dems Want to Lower Drinking Age to 18,", July 27, 2008
2.Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), "Underage Drinking and the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) Law," (accessed Oct. 20, 2010)
3.American Medical Association (AMA), "Minimum Legal Drinking Age," (accessed July 19, 2013)
4.GPO Access, "Title 23--Highways: Chapter 1--Federal-Aid Highways," (accessed June 1, 2009)
5.Amethyst Initiative, "Statement," (accessed Oct. 9, 2018)
6.Annie Chiappetta, "Should Drinking Age Be 18?,", Apr. 14, 2005
7.Choose Responsibility, "FAQs," (accessed Mar. 28, 2012)
8.Thomas S. Dee and William N. Evans, "Behavioral Policies and Teen Traffic Safety," American Economic Review, May 2001
9.Peter Asch and David T. Levy, "Young Driver Fatalities: The Roles of Drinking Age and Drinking Experience," Southern Economic Journal, Oct. 1990
10."Alcohol Impaired Driving," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,, 2009
11.Barry M. Sweedler, "The Worldwide Decline in Drinking and Driving: Has It Continued?," Presentation for the 15th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety in Stockholm (Sweden),, May 2000
12.Jeffrey A. Miron and Elina Tetelbaum, "The Dangers of the Drinking Age," Forbes, Apr. 15, 2009
13."2009 Drunk Driving Statistics,", 2011
14.Charlie Covey, "Drinking Age Requires Necessary and Proper Action,", Nov. 11, 2007
15.Will Wilkinson, "Bottoms Up!," Forbes, Sep. 29, 2008
16.Joseph Califano Jr., "The Commercial Value of Underage and Pathological Drinking to the Alcohol Industry," National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University website, May 2006
17.Mark Kleiman, "Of Amethysts and Fake ID's,", Aug. 20, 2008
18.M. Wolfson, A. Wagenaar, and G. Hornseth, "Law Officers' Views on Enforcement of the Minimum Drinking Age: A Four-State Study,", July 1995
19.Alexander C. Wagenaar and Traci L. Toomey, "Effects of Minimum Drinking Age Laws: Review and Analyses of the Literature from 1960 to 2000," Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 2002
20.US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), "Dangers of Teen Drinking," (accessed Oct. 20, 2010)
21.Birckmayer J and Hemenway D, "Minimum-age Drinking Laws and Youth Suicide, 1970 –1990," American Journal of Public Health, 1999
22.American Academy of Pediatrics, "Policy Statement--Alcohol Use by Youth and Adolescents: A Pediatric Concern," Pediatrics, Apr. 12, 2010
23.US Department of Human Health and Services (DHHS), "The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking,", 2007
24.James C. Fell, "An Examination of the Criticisms of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 Laws in the United States from a Traffic-safety Perspective,", Oct. 2008
25.Kathryn Stewart, "How Alcohol Outlets Affect Neighborhood Violence," Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation website (accessed Mar. 28, 2012)
26.National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Traffic Safety Facts,", 2008
27."Results of the 2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, July 2009
28.Bettina Friese and Joel W. Grube, "Youth Drinking Rates and Problems: A Comparison of European Countries and the United States," Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation website, 2010
29.Honorable Ralph Guy Jr., "Ref. Civil No. 8-73015 and Civil No. 8-73159," US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, Detroit, Michigan, Dec. 22, 1978
30.Carl F. Pieper, et al., "Effect of Legal Drinking Age on Fatal Injuries of Adolescents and Young Adults," American Journal of Public Health, 1992
31.Alexander C. Wagenaar, et al., "Where and How Adolescents Obtain Alcoholic Beverages," Public Health Reports, 1993
32.Alexander C. Wagenaar, et al., "Public Opinion on Alcohol Policies in the United States: Results from a National Survey," Journal of Public Health Policy, 2000
33.Joseph Carroll, "Most Americans Oppose Lowering Legal Drinking Age to 18 Nationwide,", July 27, 2007
34.Rhonda Jones-Webb, "Why and in What Context Adolescents Obtain Alcohol from Adults: A Pilot Study," Substance Use and Misuse, 1997
35."Youth Access to Alcohol," Alcohol Epidemiology Program at the University of Minnesota (accessed Mar. 22, 2012)
36."Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings," Department of Health and Human Services website, Sep. 2008
37.James C. Fell, "Drinking Age 21: Facts, Myths and Fictions," American Association for Automotive Medicine website, 1985
38.Denise Kandel, et al., "Stages of Progression in Drug Involvement from Adolescence to Adulthood: Further Evidence for the Gateway Theory," Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 1992
39.Peter O'Malley and Alexander C. Wagenaar, "Effects of Minimum Drinking Age Laws on Alcohol Use, Related Behaviors, and Traffic Crash Involvement Among American Youth: 1976-1987," Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 1991
40.J.H. Hedlund, R.G. Ulmer, and D.F. Preusser, "Determine Why There Are Fewer Young Alcohol Impaired Drivers,", Sep. 2001
41."Age of Majority," (accessed Oct. 20, 2010)
42.Patrick O'Malley and Alexander C. Wagenaar, "Minimum Drinking Age Laws: Effects on American Youth," Institute for Social Research website,, 1990
43.Alexander Wagenaar and Traci Toomey, "Illegal Alcohol Sales to Obviously Intoxicated Patrons at Licensed Establishments," Alcohol Clinical Experimental Research, 2004
44.David Eby, "The Convicted Drunk Driver in Michigan: A Profile of Offenders," UMTRI Research Review, 1995
45.Lise Anglin, et. al., "A Study of Impaired Drivers Stopped by Police in Sudbury, Ontario," Toronto: Addiction Research Foundation website, 1997
46.Mary A. O'Donnell, "Research on Drinking Locations of Alcohol-impaired Drivers: Implications for Prevention Policies," Journal of Public Health Policy, 1985
47.US Supreme Court, "Craig v. Boren,", Dec. 20, 1976
48.World Health Organization, "Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015,", 2015
49.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), "Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables,", 2016
50.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), "Drunk Driving,” (accessed May 11, 2018)
51.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fact Sheets – Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age,", May 10, 2018
52.European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD): Alcohol,", 2015
53.European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, "European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD): Patterns of Current Use,", 2015
54.Center for Alcohol Policy, "National Survey: Public’s Concern over Alcohol Misuse Remains High,", 2017
55.World Health Organization, "Alcohol: Key Facts,", Sep. 21, 2018
56.Cornell University Legal Information Institute, “Age of Majority,”, Nov. 2021
57.WHO, “Alcohol,”, May 9, 2022
58.Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, "Legal Age,", June 2020
59.US Courts, "Juror Qualifications," (accessed Sep. 8, 2022)
60.Jackie Burrell, "Information Parents Need to Know When a Child Turns 18,", May 4, 2020
61.Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, "Marriage Laws," (accessed Sep. 8, 2022), "Join the Military,", June 14, 2022
63.Justin Pritchard, "When Is the Best Age to Buy a Home?,", Mar. 6, 2022
64.Bethany Fowler, “State Rep. Todd Rutherford Wants to Lower SC Drinking Age to 18,”, Nov. 10, 2021, "The Fight against Underage Drinking | Stats on Teen Alcohol Use," (accessed Sep. 8, 2022)
66.The Recovery Village, "Teen Drinking Facts and Statistics,", Apr. 30, 2022
67.Alcohol Problems and Solutions, "Drinking Learners Permit Would Reduce Alcohol Abuse," (accessed Sep. 8, 2022)
68.Alexander Ahammer, et al., "Minimum Legal Drinking Age and the Social Gradient in Binge Drinking,", Mar. 27, 2021
69.Sheila Kaplan, "Congress Approves Raising Age to 21 for E-Cigarette and Tobacco Sales,", Dec. 19, 2019
70.FDA, "Newly Signed Legislation Raises Federal Minimum Age of Sale of Tobacco Products to 21,", Jan. 15, 2020
71.Dara Lee Luca, Emily Owens, and Gunjan Sharma, "The Effectiveness and Effects of Alcohol Regulation: Evidence from India," IZA Journal of Development and Migration</em>, 2019
72.Little League University, "Determining League Age for Tee Ball," (accessed Sep. 8, 2022)
73.Michael Kaskey-Blomain, "Adam Silver in Favor of Lowering NBA Age Limit from 19 to 18 Years Old: ‘It’s the Right Thing to Do’,", July 13, 2022
74.Social Security Administration, "Starting Your Retirement Benefits Early," (accessed Sep. 8, 2022)
75.Denise Witmer, "Driving Age by State,", Aug. 14, 2021