The Effects of Raising and Lowering the Minimum Legal Drinking Age in Virginia

Report No: 84-R34

Published in 1984

About the report:

This report updates previous ones on the impact of raising and lowering the legal drinking age. Crash data from Virginia indicate the following: The percentage of all crashes that are alcohol-related have increased significantly since 1974 for persons under 16, 16 to 19 years, and 20 to 24 years. Such increases were not noted for adults. In 1982, when the legal age for purchasing beer for off-premises consumption was raised to 19, percentages of alcohol-related crashes for the affected age groups dropped. From 1974 to 1982, numbers of alcohol-related crashes were higher than expected, based on previous trends, for persons under 16, 16 to 19 years and 20 to 24 years. Numbers of non-alcohol-related crashes and alcohol-related crashes for adults were not higher than expected. These trends for young persons were tentatively reversed in 1982. It was concluded that Virginia should take a more protective stance towards its 16 to 20 year olds and increase the minimum legal drinking age to 21 years.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Cheryl W. Lynn

Last updated: January 17, 2024

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