Drinking age in Utah
It was a unique period in national history when the National Minimum Drinking Age Act passed. It was one of the first times since Prohibition that alcohol was made illegal for large groups of people. The large groups of people being addressed this time were people who were under the age of 21. The law was that it would be against the law for the public possession and purchase of alcohol, and not for the consumption of alcohol necessarily. That’s why so many states have exceptions to the 21-year-old rule. There are exceptions in various states that say it’s ok for people to drink if they have their parents consent, or its for religious purposes.
The way that the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed was not to a lot of peoples’ liking. There were a lot of groups pretty annoyed about it. What it basically did was coerce the states into voluntarily raising their drinking ages, and if they didn’t do it, then they would lose 10% of their federal highway construction funds. There were some groups that questioned whether this law even valid because of the way it handled the 50 states. There were a number of people that were also mad about it because it significantly raised the age for the public possession and purchase of alcohol to 21, when the age of majority was 21. That meant that adults could go to war, fight in battles, vote, and buy cigarettes, but they couldn’t purchase or publicly consume alcohol. There were a lot of people, however, who were very happy about the law, because they believed it would curb the number of drunk driving accidents there were in the country at the time. There was starting to be an epidemic of drunk driving fatalities, and this law was believed to help stop them too.
There was no known drinking age in Utah before the passage of Prohibition. The drinking age was raised to 21 after the repeal of Prohibition. It remained 21, and after the passage of the 26th Amendment, it didn’t change. It remained 21 in all the ensuing years too. It’s still 21, and it remained 21 after the National Minimum Drinking Age Act.
The sole exceptions for the 21-year-old drinking age limit are for religious purposes and medical purposes. Utah is a tough state to live in as far as underage alcohol consumption. There are no exceptions that allow for the underage consumption of alcohol on private, non alcohol-selling premises as long as there is parental consent, and most parents wouldn’t let their children drink anyway because of the high population and percentage of Mormons in the state, and alcohol is forbidden in their religion. There are a number of states that are much more liberal than Utah as far as underage alcohol consumption, but what can at least be said for Utah is that they do allow drinking for religious purposes. They are not entirely draconian in their laws on underage alcohol consumption.