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A Look at the History of the National Drinking Age and its Effect on Alcohol-Related Car Accidents

Our Boston drunk driving car accident attorneys know that many of the worst alcohol-related car accidents involve young drivers.

beer2.jpgA recent feature on Boston.com looks at the history and effects of having a national drinking of age of 21. This July marks three decades since the National Minimum Drinking Age Act took effect when President Ronald Regan signed it into law.

As the article notes, this national act required all states to raise the drinking age to 21. Any state that did not comply with the provisions of the act would face a significant cut in its federal highway budget.

While, normally, the federal government does not have the authority to force a state to enact a local law, the government does have the power to withhold federal funding for various programs if the state does not comply. This was the method used to mandate compliance with the Drinking Age Act. Though some states were initially reluctant, every state eventually complied with the act’s requirements, and the drinking age was 21 throughout the nation in the summer of 1984.

Prior to 1984, there were different drinking ages depending on the state. However, once prohibition was repealed, most states imposed a drinking age of 21 only to lower it to 18 by the 1970s. The reduction of the drinking age from 21 to 18 showed a large increase in number of alcohol-related car accidents across the nation.

This increase in the number of drunk driving car accidents was of major concern and was considered to have risen to the level of a national crisis. It was due to this that the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was created and passed into law by the mid 1980s. According to research, the total number of drunk driving car accidents has been cut in half since the passage of the act.

While some argue that if you are old enough to fight in a war, you should be old enough to drink, and others argue that any drinking makes young people more likely to binge drink, there is certainly a need to reduce the number of drunk driving car accidents.

Alcohol related car accidents could have major effects on the lives of pedestrians and other drivers involved. A typical case could involve a substantial amount of damages in the form of pain and suffering, lost earnings because the victim is forced to miss work, property damage to the vehicle, hospital bills, and also future medical expenses. Future medical expenses are often higher than many people can initially contemplate.

Let’s look at what happens when someone loses a limb in a car accident. Aside from the costs associated with the amputation and physical or occupational therapy immediately following the accident, a modern prosthetic leg costs more than $10,000 and has an average useful lifespan of only three years. This means you may be required to purchase a new artificial leg every three years for the rest of your life at a cost of more than $10,000 each time.

These are some of the things you should speak with your Boston drunk driving accident lawyer about when discussing your case.

If you have been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Why 21? A Look at Our Nation’s Drinking Age, July 17, 2014 Boston.com
More Blog Entries:

MADD Working with NFL Teams to Curb Drunk Driving, July 11, 2014, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog