Apr
20
2005

Wailuku, HI —  The Hawai`i Hotel and Lodging Association and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, partnered today to bring a life-saving lesson about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking to students at Baldwin and Maui High Schools. In advance of prom and graduation season, Brandon Silveria, a young man who was involved in an alcohol-related crash at age 17 just before his high school prom, and his father Tony will speak to students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol — and if students are under the age of 21 — the only responsible decision is not to drink. Today’s event marks a continuing partnership between the organizations to combat drunk driving and underage drinking in Hawai`i.

“We must all do more to save lives in Hawaii,” said Murray Towill, President of the Hawai`i Hotel & Lodging Association. “In 2003, 72 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes in Hawaii, including 19 alcohol-related deaths among youth under the age of 21. One death is one too many. We must do more to keep the teens of Maui safe and alcohol-free. I am so proud to have Brandon and Tony Silveria with us today to communicate their life-saving message to young drivers in Hawai`i.”

“The good news is that over the past 20 years, the number of underage drinkers has decreased. For example, underage drinking among high school seniors has declined 29% proportionally from 70% in 1982 to 50% in 2001, according to government surveys. I’m pleased we were invited to give a presentation today,” said Dana Fudurich of The Century Council. “During our visit, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives on Maui.”

During his presentation, Brandon Silveria told students his wrenching story of how as a high school student he had everything a teenager could want — a job, girlfriend and plans for the future — until he had a few drinks at a party and chose to drive home. After falling asleep at the wheel, crossing the centerline and crashing into a tree, he was left in a coma for three months and spent several years in rehabilitation. Silveria was so badly injured that basic motor functions such as walking, talking and swallowing had to be re-learned. He has permanent brain injury and suffers from dangerous seizures. Brandon’s presentations continue to receive standing ovations from students across the country.

“What you become depends on the choices that you make,” said Brandon Silveria. “When I was seventeen, I had a job and a girlfriend. Because of my crash, I lost both of them. My hope is that by sharing my experiences with other young people, I can prevent others from being hurt or killed.”

Through educational efforts such as the Silveria lecture and video program, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility educates students across the country about the hazards of underage drinking and driving. Since Brandon and his father Tony have become spokespeople for The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, they have addressed well over one million high school students nationwide and have been featured on such television programs as “Rescue 911,” NBC’s “Today,” and “Leeza.”

To request a free copy of “Brandon Tells His Story” or for more information on the Silveria program call (800) 431-4499. The 30-minute video, which won an award from the American Medical Association, is accompanied by supporting curriculum materials and can be used with large or small groups of teens.

Launched in 1991, The Century Council is funded by America's leading distillers. The Foundation's mission is to promote responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol and discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement and other programs. For more information on the Foundation, log onto www.responsibility.org.
Contact: 
CONTACT: Lindsay Law
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
202-637-0077
via email