Las Vegas, NV — Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-1) and The Century Council, 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 Valley High School. In advance of prom and graduation season, Brandon Silveria and his father Tony 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 can all do more to protect lives in southern Nevada, and one way to start is to make sure that our students know the dangers of drinking and driving,” said Congresswoman Berkley. “I am so proud to have Brandon and Tony Silveria with us today to communicate their life-saving message to young drivers in Las Vegas. Since 2003, more than 180 people have been killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes in Nevada, including 8 alcohol-related deaths among drivers between the ages of 15-20. That is why it is so important that we remind young people that one bad choice can not only ruin your life, it can end it, when drunk driving is involved.” “I’m pleased Congresswoman Berkley invited us to give a presentation today,” said Pam Beer of The Century Council. “During our visit, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in Las Vegas.” 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 Century Council educates students across the country about the hazards of underage drinking and driving. Since Brandon and his father Tony have become spokespeople for The Century Council, 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 Century Council is funded by America's leading distillers. The Council'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 Council, log onto www.centurycouncil.org.
The Century Council
The Century Council