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Waiting for a lowered drinking age? Not likely to happen

Growing up is invariably accompanied by bouts of impatience and perceived injustice.

Consider for a moment how some people in those transient moments between late adolescence and early adulthood feel when they contemplate what must be a galling inconsistency to them, namely this: On the one hand, they can obtain their driver’s license, vote and even serve in a combat role for the military several years before they reach the age of 21. On the other hand, it is unlawful for them to drink a drop of alcohol before that time.

At one time, their frustration was acknowledged and acted upon: As noted in a recent media article on the subject of alcohol and American laws, many states were persuaded by such logic to lower the drinking age from 21 in the 1970s.

And then things changed in a big way, with prodding from the Reagan presidential administration, which essentially cajoled a 21-years-of-age threshold for all states by threatening to withhold transportation funds from recalcitrant local governments. Federal law provided for national uniformity in 1984.

Based on recent survey data compiled by the polling giant Gallup, that long-held standard appears to be safely intact and even immutable. Most Americans firmly support it, owing to a widely held view that underage drinking is inexorably tied to drunk driving accidents and resulting fatalities at an impermissibly high level.

And, thus, law enforcement departments in Arkansas and all other states continue, as always, to keep an especially close eye on young people as they drive, looking for indicators of alcohol consumption.

That heightened scrutiny of young motorists is a simple roadway reality that does result in many youthful offenders being stopped and arrested on drinking-related criminal charges.

Young people make mistakes, with a DUI/DWI arrest certainly qualifying for inclusion as a significant error. Like all other motorists, they are entitled to a legal defense and representation that seeks to fully safeguard their rights and mitigate the charges against them.

In Arkansas, they can pursue that lawful aim by contacting a proven Little Rock drunk driving defense attorney.

Source: Gallup.com, “Americans still oppose lowering the drinking age,” Jeffrey M. Jones, July 24, 2014

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