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NJ21 Coalition Banner
Overview I Additional Resources

The coalition is committed to reinforcing the lifesaving impact of the minimum 21 drinking age through enforcement, education and public awareness initiatives.
Organized by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, the NJ21 Coalition is comprised of State government, law enforcement, education, traffic safety, and non-profit agencies opposed to lowering the current minimum drinking age. The coalition was established in response to the Amethyst Initiative, a nationwide movement of college and university presidents, formed by John McCardell, president emeritus of Middlebury College, who believe the current minimum legal drinking age should be revisited.
In 1980, when the legal drinking age in New Jersey was changed to 19, fatalities were at an all-time high for 18 to 20 year olds, with 88 young people losing their lives in drunk driving crashes on our roadways. In 1983, when the drinking age was raised to 21, 45 individuals in that same age group died as a result of drunk driving-related crashes. Since that time, the number of DWI-related crash fatalities has steadily decreased. In 2007, ten young people were killed in drunk driving crashes on New Jersey roadways. That number has remained constant since 2005. Overall, the State has experienced a 78 percent reduction in DWI fatalities for young people ages 18 to 20 since the drinking age was raised to 21 in the 1980’s.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the current minimum legal drinking age has reduced traffic fatalities involving drivers aged 18 to 20 years old by 13 percent nationwide, saving nearly 900 lives every year. Research has shown that the enactment of 21 as the minimum drinking age has been one of the most effective countermeasures ever put in place to reduce alcohol-related fatalities, and that such laws have saved more than 25,000 lives nationwide since 1975. According to an October 2008 NHTSA report, in the past five years, an estimated 4,441 drunk driving deaths were prevented as a result of the minimum 21-year-old drinking age. All 50 states and the District of Columbia had enacted 21 as the minimum legal drinking age by 1988.

A recent PublicMind poll of Garden State residents conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University further reinforces the need to maintain the current minimum legal drinking age. New Jerseyans overwhelmingly support keeping the drinking age at 21 -- 76 percent favor leaving the legal drinking age at 21, while just 18 percent support lowering it to 18.



  • New Jersey Office of the Attorney General
  • New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety
  • New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • New Jersey State Police
  • New Jersey Department of Human Services,
    Division of Addiction Services
  • New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
  • Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey
  • MADD
  • New Jersey State Safety Council
  • New Jersey Police Traffic Officers’ Association
  • Sheriffs’ Association of New Jersey
  • New Jersey Prevention Network
  • Childhood Drinking (CD) Coalition
  • New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police
  • HERO Campaign
  • Rowan University
  • Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
  • National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence -
    New Jersey (NCADD NJ)
  • Association of Student Assistance Professionals
  • William Paterson University
  • NJ Higher Education Consortium on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention and Education
  • Drug Free Schools Coalition
  • New Jersey Association of School Resource Officers
  • American Correctional Officers

The Coalition continues to welcome other organizations committed to its mission.

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