21 Is the Legal Drinking Age
The law is working.
The Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984. The law established 21 as the minimum legal drinking age. Since then:
- Teen drinking is down. Twenty-eight percent fewer high school seniors drink today than did in 1983 (see chart).
- Teen binge drinking is down. Eighteen percent fewer high school seniors engage in binge drinking today than did in 1983 (see chart).
- Alcohol-related fatal crashes involving teen drivers have dropped by more than half—from 22 per 100,000 licensed drivers 15 to 20 years old in 1982 to fewer than 10 per 100,000 in 2003.
- The minimum drinking age has prevented an estimated 22,000 alcohol-related driving deaths—about 900 lives a year.
Despite these gains, too many teens still drink.
- Fourteen percent of eighth graders, 29 percent of high school sophomores, and 41 percent of high school seniors report recent drinking.
- More than 7 percent of eighth graders, 16 percent of sophomores, and 23 percent of seniors report recent binge drinking.
- Most teens report that alcohol is “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get — including 61 percent of eighth graders, 80 percent of sophomores, and 90 percent of seniors.
Don't serve alcohol to teens.
It's unsafe. It's illegal. It's irresponsible.