Keeping the legal drinking age at 21 has spared 4,441 lives from drunken driving accidents over the past 5 years, according a new report from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In the face of renewed efforts to lower the age to purchase and consume alcohol to as little as 18 years of age in some states, NHTSA looked at the issue as part of its annual study of traffic safety.
In a press release, NHTSA Acting Administrator David Kelly said, “turning our back on these laws would be a deadly mistake. Minimum drinking age laws are among the most effective measures ever used to reduce drunken driving deaths among America’s young people.”
The agency also found that although 15,147 lives were saved by seatbelt use in 2007, that number could have been as much as 5,024 higher if 100% of automobile drivers and passengers buckled up. Motorcycle helmet use was also found to be responsible for preventing 1,784 deaths.