Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council announced today it has reaffirmed its public policy to support a national 21-year-old minimum legal drinking age. The policy, reaffirmed by representatives of NSC’s 50,000 member organizations at their annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., includes this key statement:
The National Safety Council supports the minimum drinking age of 21 and opposes any attempt to lower this age and reaffirms the need for Federal sanctions for states that violate this provision.
NSC first adopted its policy supporting the 21-year-old minimal legal drinking age in 1984, preceding federal establishment of it that year. Since that time, extensive studies have proven that the 21 law has saved about 1,000 lives annually.
“The research is clear. Anything less than a 21 minimum drinking age leads to more deaths, particularly of our young adults. The 21 minimum drinking age has saved more than 25,000 American lives,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC president & CEO. “By reaffirming this policy, the NSC is making clear our fact-based understanding that if the drinking age is lowered, injuries and deaths will significantly increase. We learned this from disastrous experiments of lowering the drinking age in the 1970s and 80s. We can’t let it happen again.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), an NSC partner in the Support 21 Coalition, applauded the policy reaffirmation.
“The 21 minimum legal drinking age law is proven to be one of the nation’s most important and lifesaving laws to protect youth. There is overwhelming support for this law, including that of national health and safety leaders, enforcement, legislators and the American public,” said MADD National President Laura Dean-Mooney, who also pointed to a recent Nationwide Insurance survey that found 72 percent of adults think lowering the drinking age would make alcohol more accessible to kids, and nearly 50 percent think it would increase binge drinking among teens. More than half of survey respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a state representative who supports lowering the legal limit or send their children to colleges or universities with “party school” reputations.
“Solutions to the binge-drinking problems on college campuses start with increased enforcement, changing the environment and limiting access to alcohol,” Dean-Mooney said.
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.