IACP Opposes Lowering National Drinking Age to 18

Published: August 25, 2008

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The following is a response from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), who oppose the idea of lowering the legal drinking limit to age 18. More than 100 college presidents have signed a petition to decrease the legal drinking age, while groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) oppose the idea.

In response to calls from 100 college and university presidents, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is expressing its strong opposition to lowering the national drinking age to 18. Raising the drinking age to 21 reversed a dangerous increase in alcohol-related highway fatalities involving teen drivers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concluded that raising the drinking age to 21 has saved more than 25,000 lives since 1984.

“Lowering the minimum drinking age to 18 is both misguided and dangerous,” said IACP President Ronald Ruecker, director of Public Safety in Sherwood, Ore. “The worst thing any police officer has to do is knock on a door in the dead of night to tell parents that their child will not be coming home because he or she is a victim of impaired driving. Lowering the national drinking age would inevitably lead to more tragedies for more families.

Research has consistently shown that while underage drivers between the ages of 16 and 21 comprise just seven percent of all drivers in the nation, they are involved in 15 percent of all alcohol-related fatalities. If these underage drivers were permitted to purchase alcohol legally then this already unacceptable figure would grow dramatically. To modify or repeal the minimum drinking age would be gambling with the lives of America’s children.

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Founded in 1893, the International Association of Chiefs of Police is the world’s oldest and largest association of law enforcement executives with more than 22,000 members in nearly 100 countries. For more information, visit www.theiacp.org.


IACP Aug. 25, 2008 press release

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