|Health Factors:||Alcohol & Drug Use|
|Decision Makers:||State Government|
|Population Reach:||20-49% of WI's population|
|Impact on Disparities:|
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Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws specify an age below which the purchase or public consumption of alcoholic beverages is illegal. In the United States, the age in all states is currently 21 years (CG-Motor vehicle injury).
There is strong evidence that current minimum legal drinking age laws reduce alcohol-impaired driving and alcohol-related crashes (CG-Motor vehicle injury, Wagenaar 2002) as well as associated injuries among 18- to 20-year-old drivers (CG-Motor vehicle injury). Dedicated efforts to prevent alcohol sales to minors, especially compliance checks on retail alcohol outlets, increase effectiveness of these laws (Wagenaar 2002).
Since 21 became the nationwide legal drinking age, there have been significant decreases in fatal traffic crashes and alcohol-related crashes (CG-Motor vehicle injury, IOM-Underage drinking 2004) as well as arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) among young people (IOM-Underage drinking 2004). Current minimum legal drinking age laws appear to also decrease alcohol consumption among young people (Wagenaar 2002).
Although 21 is the minimum legal drinking age in all states, many states have exceptions to this law (e.g., on private premises, with parental consent, for religious purposes, etc.). As of January 2013, 14 states had no exceptions to the minimum legal drinking age for consumption of alcohol (APIS).
In Wisconsin, minors are banned from purchasing alcohol with no exceptions. Consent and presence of parent/guardian or spouse are required for possession and consumption of alcohol (APIS).