It turns out — who knew? — that few college students actually wait until turning 21 for that first drink of alcohol. And the result of our ban is that they drink in huge quantities, away from adult supervision or socializing, and in ways that are very, very destructive.
I prefer European approaches, in which one can have a little beer or small glass of wine with the family (as I did with my parents as a child), and then can drink in pubs at 16, but cannot drive until 18, meaning that you learn how to drink in the company of adults and then take the bus home. In the US and A, on the other hand, you can drive at 16 and the only place you can drink is away from adults, so young people tend to get into their cars to be able to drink. But the irrational defenders of the US’s current approach, notably MADD, are more concerned with posturing than with actually reducing deaths from drunk drivers, so they persist in their MAD policies, usually articulated in the most irrational, shrill, and nasty way possible. MADD and their fanatical campaigns against reasonable laws governing alcohol are responsible for deaths on the highways. Their irrationality costs lives.