Poorly Written But True

January 4, 2011
By , Bedford, IN
For many students college and high school are times full of parties where drinking alcohol is the main activity. It is often the topic of casual conversation between close friends and among the student body as a whole. What everyone doesn’t like talking about, however, is the risks of drinking and driving. Occasionally, one will hear whispers of a minor car accident or even a death due to drunk driving. Yet, it seems that just weeks after said accident occurs, the students are out drinking again thinking that this will never happen to them. Looking at the bigger picture, America’s drunk driving statistics are much higher than Europe’s, despite a higher age limit. Why is that? It may seem ironic, but I feel that in order for America to lower its drunk driving statistics, its inhabitants must concentrate not on drinking laws but on those who drive while under the influence. In addition to this they must raise the driving age from sixteen to eighteen.

No matter how strict the drinking laws get, underage people will always find ways to get alcohol. Whether they get it through a friend that is over 21 or steal it from their parent’s basement bar, it does not matter. There is no way to regulate all the alcohol being sold and no way to be sure it is not getting into the hands of underage kids. This being said, would it not be more logical to concentrate less on those drinking and concentrate more on those who are driving while drunk?
Europe’s drunk driving statistics for youth are lower than America’s and I cannot help but think part of this is due to the fact that Americans can drive at a younger age. European teenagers are not necessarily more responsible than American teenagers when it comes to drinking and driving, but rather they do not have the car to do so. If we American’s were to follow Europe’s example and raise the driving age to 18 there would be less teenagers behind the wheel in the first place; let alone behind the wheel while intoxicated.

Another aspect of America’s alcohol problems is binge drinking. On a recent trip to England, I witnessed a mother allowing her 13 year-old daughter to drink a glass of wine at dinner. To me- a 16 year-old American boy- this seemed absurd. In retrospect, I realize this was absurd to me not only because of the cultural difference between America and Europe but also because alcohol seemed to be a taboo subject where I grew up. This taboo between a parent and their children, I think, is the reason behind much of the binge drinking habits of college students in America. The students, in my opinion, would be less likely to binge drink in college if alcohol was introduced to them at a younger age, thus taking away the taboo.
I strongly believe that if parents were to allow their children to drink in moderation -while supervised of course- that they would be less likely to experiment with alcohol later on in life. This in addition to raising the driving age from sixteen to eighteen would bring the drunk driving statistics down significantly.

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