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Young people and drinking: a persistent American concern

It's likely that the opinion of most adults in Orange City and throughout the rest of Florida echoes that of Americans across the country generally on the specific topic of young drivers and drinking.

To wit: Nearly three out of every four Americans polled by the national organization Gallup think that the present legal drinking age is just fine and, in fact, would strongly oppose any proposal to lower it.

In days of yore -- that is, prior to 1984 -- age-related laws regarding drinking varied among American states. In state "A," for example, a young driver unable to legally consume alcohol until turning 21 might be able to drive across a nearby border and purchase alcohol in state "B" even though still a teenager.

The federal government put a stop such variance when, 30-plus years ago, it adopted a carrot-and-stick approach to the states. State governments opting to go with a 21-year-old age threshold for lawful drinking became eligible for substantial amounts of funds earmarked toward transportation needs. Those that remained recalcitrant would simply forgo the opportunity to get a share of the proceeds.

The outcome was predictable, with all 50 states converging in a uniform scheme, driven by the stated concern of regulators with underage drinking.

That scheme persists, with 21 being the threshold age for lawful consumption of alcohol across the country.

According to Gallup, and notwithstanding some reformists urging a return to a lower drinking age for various reasons, the drink-from-21 standard seems firmly entrenched and perhaps permanent across the country.

Juvenile drinking, especially when coupled with driving, thus remains a central concern of law enforcers, safety regulators, parents and older motorists generally.

It is also, obviously, a serious concern for underage offenders, who can face potentially harsh legal exactions for acts of youthful indiscretion.

Persons with questions or concerns regarding the arrest of a minor for underage drinking can receive prompt and knowledgeable answers, as well as strong legal advocacy, from an experienced Florida DUI defense attorney.

Source: Gallup.com, "Americans still oppose lowering the drinking age," Jeffrey M. Jones, July 24, 2014

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