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American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
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Governors Highway Safety Association

Federal Highway Administration

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Transportation Research Board of The National Academies

National Cooperative Highway Research Program

8/30/2008 - State Highway Safety Agencies: Repealing 21 Drinking Age Law a Giant Step Backward

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the 21 MLDA has reduced traffic fatalities involving drivers 18 to 20 years old by 13 percent and saves approximately 900 lives a year.

Studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicate that delaying the initiation of drinking by youth contributes to reductions in future alcohol problems, including alcohol dependence; binge drinking and alcohol-associated traffic trashes, injuries and fatalities and violence. Additional NIH research has shown that lifetime alcohol dependence decreased steeply as a function of increasing age at the onset of drinking.

Next month, at GHSA’s Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, we will hold a workshop to help highway safety agencies counter any effort in their states to lower the drinking age. Researchers and experts from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, MADD and others will share their analysis and tips for preserving 21.

As Congress prepares to reauthorize the federal highway legislation, GHSA will continue to make the case that 21 has been effective and will vigorously oppose any repeal effort. In the meantime, I would be glad to speak to any of these college and university presidents and share with them why 21 has been an important highway safety law.


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