25 Apr 2014

Lower drinking age increases teen crash risk

10:37 am on 25 April 2014

New research shows the risk of teenagers being killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash has jumped since the drinking age was lowered.

Drinker & bottle

Photo: PHOTO NZ

The study by Massey University researchers found that before the law change, drivers aged 18 to 19 and 20 to 24 had similar chances of being involved in a crash where at least one of the drivers was drunk.

But since the drinking age was lowered in 1999, 18 and 19 year-olds have been 21 percent more at risk of being hurt or killed.

The researchers say it's the first time anyone has investigated the long-term effects of lowering the drinking age on crash statistics and they hope their findings will encourage policymakers to raise the age.