May
16
2005
Staten Island, NY — Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Assemblyman Matthew Mirones 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 Michael J. Petrides High School and St. Joseph Hill Academy. In advance of prom and graduation season, Brandon Silveria and his father Tony Silveria spoke to students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol — and if students are under the age of 21, that 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. “We must all do more to save lives in our area,” said Donovan. “Last year (2003) 529 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes in New York, including 38 alcohol-related deaths among drinking drivers between the ages of 15-20. One death is one too many. We must do more to keep the teens of New York 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 on Staten Island.” “The good news is underage drinking has declined 31% proportionally from 70% in 1982 to 48% in 2004 in terms of past month alcohol consumption among high school seniors, according to the 2004 Monitoring the Future study,” said Assemblyman Mirones. “By educating students on the consequences of the decisions they make regarding alcohol consumption, I am hopeful the percentage of underage drinking continues to trend in a positive direction.” “In New York, 318 youths under age 18 were arrested for driving under the influence and 1,038 youths were arrested for liquor law violations (UCR 2003),” said Susan Molinari, Chairman of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. “I’m pleased we were invited to give a presentation today. During our visit, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in New York.” During the presentation, Brandon Silveria 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, 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.
Contact: 
Lindsay Law
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
202-425-5423