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Essay 3.2 - Nick Hinman WR 122 03 06 08 Essay 3.2...

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Nick Hinman WR 122 03 / 06 / 08 Essay 3.2 Communities across the country are passing “social host” laws that hold adults accountable for any repercussions of providing a premise for underage drinking, whether or not the provision is intentional. In Marin County, California, parents are held legally responsible for any and every effect of acting as a social host, whether it be drunk-driving, rape, sexual assault, or alcohol poisoning. This latest regulation, in addition to the slew of increasingly constricting laws governing underage drinking, puts parents at even more of a disadvantage when it comes to teaching their children about the safe consumption of alcohol. Our society is neglecting its responsibility to embrace alcohol and train our youth about it. Because we have such a high drinking age, parents roles are marginalized when it comes to teaching their children to make healthy decisions with alcohol. How can we emphasize the importance of an integral life when we’re legally forced to neglect the fact that young people are constantly breaking the law by drinking? The original intent of changing the drinking age to twenty-one was to reduce drunk- driving in the 18-24 demographic, but the reasoning and argument that changed the law was built on junk science and federal blackmail. These intentions, while ideally rational, don’t pan out in society; the effect of the raised drinking age has marginalized parent’s role in educating their kids about safe and responsible alcohol consumption, effectively leading to unsafe drinking habits in an unsafe environment. There is no legitimate evidence supporting the claim that raising the drinking age to twenty-one from eighteen even has reduced underage drinking or alcohol-induced driving
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fatalities. One of the original proponents behind the legal-age 21 was the non-profit organization MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. On its website, MADD cites research from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, claiming that “The 21 minimum drinking age also helps those not directly affected by the law. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, found that between 1982 and 1998, there were 61% fewer drinking drivers involved in fatal crashes under age 21 and a 56% decrease among 21-24 year olds. This is against a backdrop of a decrease of only 24% among 25-55 year olds.” MADD fails to recognize the fact that there has been a net of safety improvements, including better roads and safer cars, as well as safer policies, since the drinking age was raised to twenty-one. David J. Hanson, retired Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the State University of New York, believes on the contrary.
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