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Blog: Lower Drinking Age, Tighten Laws

Posted: Monday, 26 March 2012 16:17

Blog: Lower Drinking Age, Tighten Laws

Mar 26: In a country like India where voting age is 18 years and the cancer causing cigarettes and gutka can be sold to adults over 18 years of age, it does not make sense to keep the drinking age at 25 when this law is openly flouted anyway as was seen in the horrible mishap in Delhi a couple of days ago, when the killers were under the legal age, making the strict enforcement of the laws against drunk driving with severe punishment for the defaulters essential rather than keeping the age at 25 years for a majority of responsible adults

Two young men in an inebriated state killed the driver of an auto rickshaw with bricks a couple of days ago. His fault? He brushed past their stationary car and scratched their car. The duo chased him and signalled him to stop. Not realizing that the death was calling him, he stopped. They were so mad in their drunken rage that they beat him to death-using even bricks to bash him.

Totally an uncalled for action and a life was ruthlessly taken away when the car was not even in motion yet. The age of drivers? The illegal age of 22 and 23 year respectively. They would have probably hit and killed some other driver that night if they had been driving. The legal age of 25 years is of no solace to the family including 3 kids who lost the only bread winner of the family.

During my recent trips to the US and Italy where I drove fairly extensively through the wineries of Napa and Tuscany, I was extremely cautious of the amount of wine I could take. Not that one ever gets ebriated with 2-3 glasses of wines or even tasting 50 of them, one is cautious about the fact that any slip up and one could land in jail. The thought is terrifying first but it gets in your blood stream fast protecting you against the excess-even though it may feel rather stringent at times-going from .80 down to .50, there are countries looking a t.3 and some have absolutely zero tolerance.

At the gala dinner in Singapore where I was judging at WSA Wine Challenge, we enjoyed the wines with the meals but the head of the organization was adamant in not having more than a glass of wine. He would be passing a cluster of pubs on his way and he knew there are cops sitting there like hawks and he did not want to take a chance. It was not the $150 fine that bothered him as much as the fact that points of demerits would be marked against his driver’s license. He knew about people whose licenses had been cancelled eventually for getting too many negative points.

In India, we worry too much about setting laws that may be broken and the cops are willing to look the other side. It is a small percentage of the young that do get drunk beyond the limit (I would like to believe that wine drinkers are usually more responsible drivers). But a whopping majority of the youth between 21 and 25 lose their choice to drink or not to drink.

Drinking moderately, drinking responsibly is the call of the hour. The campaign against over-drinking, the campaign against drunken driving is a continuing exercise to rein in not only under 25 but drivers of any age.

Let us hope and let us fight for responsible driving and have a zero tolerance against drunken driving. The breath analyser tests and the offenders escorted to jail with media glare to boot, should go a long way to curtail the menace of drunken driving.

But let us not snatch the choice of drinking for adults at least over 21 as a first step.

Subhash Arora


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