Washington, DC — To highlight the start of the holiday season, the Congressional Stop DUI Caucus teamed up with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility today to encourage Members of Congress to bring a lifesaving message to high school students in their Congressional districts. Brandon Silveria and his father Tony spoke to Members and staff about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol — and if you are under the age of 21, the only responsible decision is not to drink. Brandon is a young man who was involved in an alcohol-related crash at age 17 just before his high school prom. Brandon travels the country sharing the tragic consequences of his decision to drink and then drive drunk. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.
“In 2004, there were 16,694 alcohol-related traffic fatalities nationwide according to NHTSA,” said Susan Molinari, Chair of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and former Congresswoman. “One death is too many. I am pleased we were invited to give a presentation today and look forward to continuing our efforts with the Congressional Stop DUI Caucus and other Members of Congress by sending Brandon and Tony to their Congressional districts to relay this important message to high school students.”
The Congressional Stop DUI Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress formed in May 2004 to reduce drunk driving through increased public awareness and education efforts. The Caucus provides Members of Congress with information on effective programs and countermeasures to reduce drunk driving.
“The holidays are often times of celebration with family and friends; however, drunk driving and underage drinking have no place in any person’s holiday celebrations, particularly people under 21 years of age for whom alcohol use is illegal,” said Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV), Congressional Stop DUI Caucus Co-Chair. At this time of year, it is especially important to remind people of the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking.”
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Congressional Stop DUI Caucus Co-Chair, added, “Both Congressman Porter and I have had the honor of hosting multiple events with Brandon at local high schools in Southern Nevada. The Silverias deliver an incredibly compelling and important message for Members of Congress, Congressional staff, interns, and pages to hear. When Brandon tells his story, people listen and we encourage everyone to bring Brandon’s life saving message back to their community.”
During the presentation, Brandon Silveria tells students his wrenching story of how as a high school student he had everything a teenager could want — a job, a 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. Brandon 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. “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 two 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 Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility 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