WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) and The Century Council welcomed Brandon Silveria and his father, Tony, to Capitol Hill today to speak to students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol.
Brandon is a young man who was involved in an alcohol-related crash at age 17 just before his high school prom. During the presentation, Brandon Silveria told students his compelling 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.
Through educational efforts such as the Silveria lecture and video program, The Century Council educates students across the country about the hazards of drunk driving and underage drinking.
“What you become depends on the choices that you make,” Brandon told more than 150 interns, pages and other students who attended the presentation at the U.S. Capitol complex. “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.”
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), a longtime congressional leader in the fight to reduce underage drinking, presented Brandon and Tony with a Congressional Record Tribute in honor of their tireless efforts in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking.
“Over the last 20 years, Brandon and his father, Tony, have spoken to more than three million students in all 50 states across the nation - from Maine to California - and their story has been told on “Rescue911,” NBC’s “TODAY Show,” and the Discovery Channel’s “HEALTHWATCH,” Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said. “Their message focuses on encouraging teens to make the right choices, resist peer pressure, and realize the trauma created by this kind of personal tragedy. I am honored to present Brandon and his father with a Congressional Record Tribute in recognition of their ongoing commitment to saving the lives of our nation’s children.”
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard is the author of the Support 21 Act of 2009 (HR 1028), which authorizes a new highly visible media campaign to educate the public about underage drinking laws and build support for their enforcement. The legislation builds upon earlier national underage drinking legislation authored by Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. The STOP Underage Drinking Act (P.L. 109-422) – which was signed into law in December of 2006 – makes permanent an Ad Council national media campaign directed at parents that started in 2005.
The event on Capitol Hill was hosted by the Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. The Century Council stands firm in its support for the 21-year-old minimum drinking age law and remains committed to providing youth, parents, educators and law enforcement professionals with the resources they need to fight underage drinking in their communities.
“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2008, 11,773 people died in alcohol-impaired traffic crashes across the country,” said Susan Molinari, Chairman of The Century Council. Alcohol-impaired traffic crashes involve a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher. “While this number represents a 9.7 percent reduction from the previous year, it shows that we still have much more work to do. To date, we have hosted more than 2,200 events with over 150 Members of Congress to launch our programs in communities across the nation – bringing them to millions of parents, youth, educators, law enforcement officials and traffic safety professionals. I thank Congresswoman Roybal-Allard for her hard work on this issue, and I am hopeful that Brandon and Tony’s words will resonate with the guests at today’s event and inspire attendees to “make the right choice” when it comes to underage drinking and also drunk driving.”
The Century Council is a leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol.
Founded in 1991, The Council is funded by distillers.
For more information on The Council and its mission, please log onto www.centurycouncil.org.
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Matthew B. Harakal
The Century Council
(202) 637-0077 or (202) 285-2377