News & Blog

Minimum Legal Drinking Age


The issue of the minimum legal drinking age (or MLDA) has been on the news, and was recently discussed on the CBS program 60 Minutes, and Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. If you would like to read John McCardell’s argument for lowering the drinking age to 18, go to

The non-profit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving opposes this change. Go to to read why. Here are some Michigan-specific traffic crash data on the subject:

“In 1972, when the drinking age fell to 18, drinking drivers ages 18-20 in crashes more than doubled. In one year. By the last year of the 18 law, it had more than tripled. In 1979, we went back to 21, and those crashes fell by about a third. The number of drinking drivers ages 18-20 in crashes did not fall back below the 1971 number until 1990. The trend on fatalities was less severe. It didn’t quite double, never did triple, and dipped below 1971 levels in 1985.” Source: Office of Highway Safety Planning, Michigan State Police.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the current minimum drinking age law has saved over 800 lives per year over the past five years. Source: