Profile America — Tuesday, July 17th. On this date in 1984, President Reagan signed a bill known as the Minimum Legal Drinking Age law. Backed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the law standardized a patchwork of local laws across the country and made it illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase or publicly possesses alcohol. It has been estimated that a thousand lives a year are saved as a result. In the U.S., Americans annually drink an average of just under 22 gallons of beer, 2 1/2 gallons of wine and close to 1 1/2 gallons of distilled liquor. Each year, some 34,000 Americans die on the nation's highways. Of the more than 45,000 drivers involved in these fatal accidents, more than 1-in-5 is legally drunk. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sources: Chase's Calendar of Events 2012, p. 364 Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, t. 1111, 1113 Statistical Abstract of the United States 2011, t. 211
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