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National Minimum Drinking Age Act 1984: Evaluating our Nation’s Solution to Drunk Driving & Underage Consumption Aaron Adams, Tony Rohana, Kevin Kunkel.

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Presentation on theme: "National Minimum Drinking Age Act 1984: Evaluating our Nation’s Solution to Drunk Driving & Underage Consumption Aaron Adams, Tony Rohana, Kevin Kunkel."— Presentation transcript:

1 National Minimum Drinking Age Act 1984: Evaluating our Nation’s Solution to Drunk Driving & Underage Consumption Aaron Adams, Tony Rohana, Kevin Kunkel & Jack Nelson.

2 Ideal Government Just Fair Satisfying to all of its people 2

3 Let’s Compromise Opposing views lead to an agreement on a compromise. These compromises don’t always satisfy all parties. 3

4 We Aren’t Satisfied! Our group wants to address the problem with our nations policy on underage drinking. Interest groups, State Government, and Federal Government are satisfied but the youth of our nation are not. 4

5 The Law According to the United States law, “The 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act, requires that States prohibit persons under 21 years of age from purchasing or publicly possessing alcoholic beverages…” Like in many situations the Federal Government will put conditions on the states to comply otherwise they will lose privileges which one of my partners will further discuss. 5

6 Get With The Times Laws must stay relative to the population it applies to. Underage drinking is becoming accepted by the general population in many subcultures such as college. We came up with a proposed change to the current law. 6

7 National Minimum Drinking Age Act Sec. 158, Title 23, United States Code “The Secretary shall withhold 10% of the amount required to be apportioned to any state for highway funding, in which the purchase or public possession of any alcoholic beverage by a person who is less than twenty-one years of age is lawful.” 7

8 Current Law 1984 a.k.a. Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act Common misconception Any state allowed to lower drinking age Punished via federal funding States don’t think financial rewards of minors drinking would balance 10% highway funding loss 8

9 After 26 th Amendment 1971 Lowered voting age to 18 Two-thirds of states lowered drinking age to 18 Some had law of 19 Some had law of 20 Less than a dozen states had a drinking age of 21 9

10 Safety & Health Not responsible enough to handle alcohol More likely to: – Binge drink – Suffer from alcohol poisoning – Become alcoholic Brain doesn’t fully develop until 21 Irresponsible; drunk driving 10

11 Prohibition 1920s Attempt to control irresponsible drinking behavior Nearly impossible to enforce Appeal of alcohol being “Forbidden fruit” Obeyed by few, difficult to keep order Government lost out on sales tax 11

12 Federal Government The Legislative Branch is the biggest actor in alcohol consumption and sale laws – National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure – Highways and Transit Subcommittee 12

13 Federal Government Judicial Branch could possibly overrule existing laws – South Dakota v. Dole Executive Branch does not play a major role in current policy – Could not mandate any change in the law 13

14 State Governments States have jurisdiction over alcohol consumption laws – Each state has its law making procedure to enact policies States currently have widely varying laws when it comes to liquor consumption 14

15 State Governments State governments regulate distribution of liquor licenses Allows government to control the sale of alcohol For a national change in the drinking age every state must agree to a change 15

16 Implementation Enforcement mostly handled by local police departments National Parks Service handles cases in National Parks State Park jurisdiction can vary by state – DNR 16

17 Non-Governmental Actors (i.e. Interest Groups): MADD US is a representative democracy; – Non-government actors at all levels of government. – Participate and Influence public policy. – Grassroots/indirect lobbying, direct lobbying, & education campaigns. Cindy Lightner – 13 year old daughter killed by a drunk driver in – Founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving(MADD) in 1980 “To aid the victims of crimes performed by individuals driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to aid the families of such victims and to increase public awareness of the problem of drinking and drugged driving” 17

18 MADD’s Tactics & Influence: : MADD engages in a grassroots and national campaign. Grassroots and or indirect lobbying (local & state); – Massive campaign to shape social and cultural discourse surrounding drunk driving. – Grassroots/indirect lobbying, direct lobbying, & education campaigns. Direct lobbying of Congress (national): – Social influence + political context of 1984 = public policy influence Lowered drinking age = good public policy. “she buttonholed congressmen while representatives of MADD chapters flooded their offices with letters and telegrams” President Reagan’s change of heart. 18

19 Success of NMDA: Initial Context of Success: – Create major social change in the attitude and behavior of Americans toward drunk driving: – NMDA signed into law in July of Declines in drunk driving deaths since the 1980s: – Decline of alcohol-related traffic accidents since 1980s. – Statistics not what they appear to be? Transforming the social discourse surrounding drunk driving: – Drunk driving viewed as socially unacceptable. – New laws more tough/strict on drunk driving. » BAC LAW 19

20 Limitations of NMDA ‘84: Shift in purpose (i.e. new context for evaluation): Focus from drunk driving to underage consumption: – Age discrimination: Adult responsibilities associated with 18 should not exclude alcohol consumption? – Creation of a binge drinking culture among the nation’s youth: Binge drinking in less controlled environments. Concern for colleges and universities (00:55 – 2:10) 20

21 Our Conclusion of NMDA ‘84: NMDA’s efforts to combat drunk driving = productive: Strict regulation of drinking = counterproductive: – National alcoholic prohibition from 1920 to 1933 failed because it was expensive, unenforceable and lead to an increase in illegal and underground activities. In 2002 Candice Lightner stated that MADD “has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned… I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving”(Washington Times). 21

22 Our Policy Recommendation/Alternative: The National Pilot Alcohol Education Program Act of 20??: Predicated notion: education is the best alternative to teach youth to learn how to drink responsibly, and hold them accountable for their actions, as done with driving. – Through executive and legislative approval, and a combination of cooperation and partnership between state and local governments and our public education system(s) – Amend the current law in two fundamental ways: 1.Establish three new criteria for highway funding and or lack of. 22

23 Policy Recommendations/Alternatives (continued…): 2: Be a model for reality-based alcohol education and require the development and implementation on a state- by-state basis. Require guidelines for eligibility and suspension of licenses proposed in the model program. Provide accurate and unbiased alcohol education; acknowledge the social reality of alcohol in our society, but would advocate neither consumption nor abstinence. Instead it would seek only to construct a cultural and social context(s) for responsible choices where alcohol is concerned. Be taught by a certified alcohol instructor, trained to cover legal, ethical, and health issues of the alcoholic curriculum. 23


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