May
08
2008
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility today brought a life-saving lesson about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking to students of Leon High School.  Nationally recognized speaker, Brandon Silveria and his father Tony spoke to students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol – and emphasized that if students are under the age of 21, the only responsible decision is not to drink. Brandon is a young man who, at age 17 was involved in an alcohol-related crash just before his high school prom. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.

“Prom and Graduation Season is a time of great celebration for high school students. But sadly, alcohol is sometimes part of that celebration,” said Attorney General McCollum. “It is important that we continue efforts to stop drunk driving and underage drinking, especially during these special occasions. I am proud to have Brandon and Tony Silveria with us today to communicate their life-saving message.”

“In Florida in 2006, 388 youths under age 18 were arrested for driving under the influence and 1,418 youths were arrested for liquor law violations (UCR 2006),” said Shannon Adams of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. “Our goal with this presentation is to raise awareness about this serious problem and help our youth to make the right choice about alcohol. I’m pleased we were invited to Leon High School today, and I am hopeful that Brandon and his father’s words will resonate with the students.”

During the presentation, Brandon told 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, he crossed the centerline of the highway and crashed into a tree. He was left in a coma for three months and was so badly injured that he spent several years in rehabilitation, relearning basic motor functions such as walking, talking and swallowing.  He still suffers from permanent brain injury and dangerous seizures.  His 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.”

According to a 2007 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, statistics show that in 2006, 714 youths under 21 were killed in alcohol-related traffic fatalities during the Prom and Graduation Season (April, May, June). Over the past ten years, there has been an eleven percent reduction in the number of our youth killed as a result of alcohol-related traffic crashes during this time.  

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,” as well as media outlets across the country.  

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.  Founded in 1991, The Foundation is funded by distillers. For more information on The Foundation and its mission, please log onto www.responsibility.org.
Contact: 
Matthew B. Harakal
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
(202) 637-0077