Last updated on: 10/24/2011 | Author: ProCon.org

James C. Fell, MS Biography

Title:
Senior Program Director of the Alcohol, Policy, and Safety Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)
Position:
Con to the question "Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?"
Reasoning:

“One argument for lowering the Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) from 21 is that 19-and 20-year-olds are drinking anyway, so why not legalize it so they will drink in controlled settings. Research shows, however, that about half of drivers arrested or killed while driving intoxicated (DWI) had been drinking at licensed establishments. Another argument for lowering the MLDA is that keeping it at 21 only increases the desire for the ‘forbidden fruit,’ such that when teens turn 21, they will drink heavily. Research shows, however, that when the drinking age is 21, those younger than 21 drink less and continue to drink less through their early 20s. A third argument is that the Federal MLDA exerts too much authority over the States. The response to this argument is that providing for the public’s safety is the primary responsibility of government at all levels… This policy paper argues that national and international evidence shows that lowering the drinking age results in increased traffic crashes and that lowering the drinking age in combination with alcohol education programs does not impact the drinking and driving habits of youth under 21 years old. In arguing for a continuance of a MLDA of 21, this paper points to a 59-percent reduction in the rate of young alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes between 1982 and 1998.”

“An Examination of the Criticisms of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 Laws in the United States from a Traffic-safety Perspective,” Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Oct. 2008

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Organizations/VIPs/Others
Individuals and organizations that do not fit into the other star categories.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Program Director, Alcohol, Policy, and Safety Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), 2001-present
  • Member, National Board of Directors, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 1999-2006
  • Chief of Research and Evaluation, Traffic Safety Programs, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1969-1999
  • Manager, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), NHTSA, 1969-1999
  • Former Director of Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs, Center for Policy Analysis and Training, PIRE
  • Member, International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS)
  • Member, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM)
  • Member, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)
Education:
  • MS, Human Factors Engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • BS, Human Factors Engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo
Other:
  • None found
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?