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Lowering the bar for underage drinking still an unpopular idea

Unless you are from another country, another planet or live in the state of denial, you know that the minimum age for being able to legally drink alcohol in Ohio is 21.

That's the minimum drinking age in every state and has been since 1984, when then-President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that withheld federal transportation funds to states that didn't adopt the 21-year-old limit.

History teaches us that one of the big reasons the law was passed was to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities due to drunk driving by young adults. This was a particularly sensitive issue in situations when young people, old enough to drive but too young to drink in one state, would travel to a neighboring state with a lower drinking age. 

Given the objective stated above, it is no surprise that a majority of people polled ahead of the bill's signing came down squarely in favor of the standardized age. A Gallup survey done at the time put support at 79 percent. Just 18 percent of those surveyed were opposed.

Since then, statistics indicate that deaths from accidents due to drunk driving have been reduced. But regular polls by Gallup about lowering the drinking age haven't changed much in 30 years. The latest results put the split at 74 percent in favor of keeping the age at 21 age and 25 percent favoring lowering the age to 18.

At the same time, laws against drunk driving have gotten stricter which is something that anyone, especially someone who is underage, needs to be aware of in the event they find themselves facing drunk driving or underage drinking charges. For the sake of one's rights and one's future, seeking an attorney's help is always advised.

Source: Gallup.com, "Americans Still Oppose Lowering the Drinking Age," Jeffrey M. Jones, July 24, 2014

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