Raising the drinking age

A decade ago, perhaps swayed by the battle cry "Old enough to fight, old enough to drink!" 29 state legislatures passed laws lowering the drinking age. But with an average of 5,000 teen-agers dying each year in drunken-driving accidents, the trend slowed down. Since 1976, 20 states have hoisted the drinking age back up by one to three years. The payoff has been dramatic: in at least eight states, a higher drinking age was followed by a 28% reduction in nighttime fatal accidents involving 18-to 21-year-olds.

In their 1983 legislative sessions, 26 states will consider proposals to cut...

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