Nugget of Knowledge: Why drinking age isn’t 18

Federal government strongly urges that states set the drinking age to 21 by withholding funds

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Why is the legal drinking age 21?

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 says so.

It really is up to each state to decide what it’s drinking age is. This law said it had better be 21 or a state would lose 10 percent of its federal highway money.

No state wanted to give up that money from Washington, so they all jumped on board and said, “We’re 21 here.”

So, why age 21?

The idea that a person becomes a full adult at age 21 goes back centuries to English common law.

You had to be 21, for example, before you could vote or become a knight.

In that sense, it made sense to make the drinking age 21.

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