Lower drinking age raises concern

A south Texas legislator wants to lower the decades old drinking age of 21 to 18 for those on active duty in the military.

Kingsville State Representative J.M. Lozano filed House Bill 892 on Friday in hopes of allowing military personnel who legally drink alcohol abroad, to be able to do so here at home.

In a phone interview Lozano said if you're old enough to die for your country, you ought to be to old enough to drink a beer."

So how does the public feel about the proposed change?

A few folks Action 4 caught up with think the bill is a good idea.

"If they come back and just drink in moderation, then I don't see anything wrong with that, 20 year old James Cowart said.

But the majority of people Action 4 spoke with say they would NOT support the bill.

"I think it's a bad idea to be honest with you, all the accidents that are occurring nowadays, it TMs pretty bad for kids to be drinking, one McAllen resident said. I think you need a certain level of maturity before you can have alcohol. Most of these guys are already driving and we don't need the hazard on the roads."

It could affect their judgment so I don't agree with it, McAllen resident Oscar Elizondo said.

"I don't think they are mature enough that they can handle alcohol so I think it should be kept at 21, McAllen resident Tony Gonzalez said.

Local MADD representative Ana Verley says it has nothing to do with maturity.

"Research shows that drinking alcohol at a younger age can cause long term brain damage so that TMs why the drinking age is 21, not a maturity level, Verley said.

Statistics show drinking age and roadside fatalities are strongly linked.

"When the drinking age was raised, fatalities went down, every time the drinking age gets lowered fatalities go up, Verley said.

Verley says the younger kids begin to drink, the more prone they are to become alcoholic.

The bill will be discussed in a legislative committee before it can be moved on the floor of the house of representative for debate.