SPOKANE, WA — Attorney General Rob McKenna, the Washington State Liquor Control Board and The Century Council brought a life-saving lesson about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking to Spokane-area students over the last two days.
Brandon Silveria and his father Tony spoke to students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol, reminding them that if they 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.
“April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and during this time we remind students about the importance of making smart choices,” said Lorraine Lee, Chairman of the Washington State Liquor Control Board. “ I am proud to have Brandon and Tony Silveria with us today to share their life-saving message.”
“In Washington in 2007, 706 youths under age 18 were arrested for driving under the influence and 4,118 youths were arrested for liquor law violations (UCR 2008),” said Attorney General McKenna. “I’m pleased we were invited to these presentations over the last two days. During our visit, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in Washington.”
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 in media outlets across the country.
The Century Council is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. Founded in 1991, The Council is funded by distillers. For more information on The Council and its mission, please visit www.centurycouncil.org.
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Janelle Guthrie, APR, Washington State Attorney General's Office, (360) 586-0725
Matthew B. Harakal, The Century Council, (202) 637-0077