LEVITTOWN, NY — Assemblyman David McDonough (19th Assembly District) and The Century Council partnered today to bring a life-saving lesson about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking to students in Bellmore and Levittown. Brandon Silveria and his father Tony spoke to students at John F. Kennedy High School and Division Avenue High School about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol – and for students who 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. The Century Council is a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.
“The most recent statistics available show that in 2005 there were 524 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in New York, 83 of these deaths were among youth under 21 (NHTSA 2005),” said Assemblyman McDonough. “One death is one too many. We must do more to keep the teens of New York safe and alcohol-free. I am proud to have Brandon and Tony Silveria with us today to communicate their life-saving message.”
“In New York, 285 youths under age 18 were arrested for driving under the influence and 1,134 youths were arrested for liquor law violations (UCR 2005),” said Erica Moulton of The Century Council. “Our goal with these presentations is to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in New York. I’m pleased we were invited to John F. Kennedy High School and Division Avenue High School today and I am hopeful that Brandon and Tony’s words will resonate with the students.
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,” as well as media outlets across the country.
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.
The Century Council