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Why We’re Here: Steven Benvenisti
By MADD | July 1, 2012| 16 Comments | Filed in: Drunk Driving , Victim Stories

While on spring break during his senior year of college, Steven Benvenisti was walking with friends one evening when he was struck by a habitual drunk driver driving 50 miles per hour. His legs were crushed upon impact, his head smashed through the windshield of the car that struck him, and his body was thrown 70 feet. 

Steven sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and remained in a coma for 10 days. His parents were called and asked permission for organ donation. Upon awakening from the coma, he did not recognize his parents, could not speak, and had extensive cognitive deficits, including no short term memory, along with severe reading comprehension issues. He spent six months in the hospital, enduring 15 surgeries and intense rehabilitation. 

When Steven learned of his grim prognosis and realized what had been taken away from him because of a drunk driver, he promised that if he had a full recovery, he would spend the rest of his life doing everything he could to end drunk driving. 

After the crash, Steven turned to MADD and found victim advocates in Florida and New Jersey who helped him and his family deal with the challenges from the crash. Amazingly, he fully recovered, went on to law school, and now is a partner at the law firm of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, where he represents victims of drunk driving and their families in lawsuits against the drunk drivers and those who served them. He has served on the New Jersey Advisory Board for MADD for several years and has recently been named as one of the five new members of MADD’s National Board of Directors.

Steven is also an award winning motivational speaker who shares his personal story entitled “Spring Break.” All of Steven’s speaking fees are waived in favor of a donation to MADD.



Submitted by AnotherInnocentDriverOnTheRoad at 02:11 PM on January 8, 2013
To the Steve who left the comment on 9/2/12 - perhaps, you should have thought about your children before you drove drunk. Perhaps, you should have thought about other people's children and other innocent drivers on their way to work to support their own families before you chose to drive drunk and could have seriously injured or killed them, thus changing their children's lives. To Steve Benvenisti - thank God for people like you who don't just talk the talk. Despite what you and your family had to endure, you walk the walk looking out for all of us. Thank you.
Submitted by steve at 08:49 AM on September 2, 2012
i lost my license for tem years, this law needs to be changed, i am a fulltime single dad..and i can't even drive to work ..i also get no help from the state for food. if i had a blower and a hardship license i could give my kids a life.. there is a lot to there story.. however the law needs to change.
Submitted by aj at 09:19 PM on August 2, 2012
it was a goooood ending for him.
Submitted by punkin at 06:17 PM on August 2, 2012
I am so glad that Steven recovered I know it was a long haul because me and my kids were in a car accident where my daughter had a brain injury and skull fracture and was in a coma for 31/2 months and than sent to rehab.....I am so glad that Steven recoverd and i am so glad he is with us MADD...
Submitted by kelly at 09:13 AM on July 30, 2012
My son
Submitted by Julyen's voice at 07:25 AM on July 12, 2012
I am the grandmother of a five year old boy who was killed by a drunk driver he can not tell his story but I can and will. I will let people know my grandson didn't have a choice but the drunk driver did. Though me Julyen's voice will educate the public why its important to be responsible and think safety first. I'm sadden my grandson was taken so soon but he will never be forgotten and either will anybody else or his story. Thank you. I'm MADD for life.
Submitted by Rob Boyd at 01:48 PM on July 10, 2012
Steven, I remember all too well when I learned of the accident. I remember seeing you in the gym at the high school teaching yourself how to run again. I remember hearing that your chances were very slim. However, I did not read just how slim until I read the story above. We live in Germany now and it is interesting to see how seriously they take the issue of drinking and driving. Non-alcoholic beers are so much more available here. People really respect it. How can we get that same awareness and respect in the states? I suppose that is what you are fighting for. Good luck Steven! Good luck M.A.D.D.!
Submitted by Lisa Jo at 01:29 PM on July 8, 2012
Thank you Steve for serving others. I appreciate your willingness to be open with your tragedy, recovery and your life. Your journey does make a difference. Our son and granddaughter were killed in Jan. 2008. Your strength and efforts matter!
Submitted by Nichole at 11:03 AM on July 6, 2012
I am blessed myself, a survivor of a near fatal accident 10/25/08....struck by a drunk driver who is currently sitting in prison. I was in my seatbelt passenger side when my life was changed forever. I am 32 y/o on full disability due to having a trache that caused my airway to be damaged(I breathe basically through a straws diameter versus a quarters diameter) and I am a right arm amputee. I support MADD and I am glad to hear all the wonderful things Steven has and continues to do for victims and their families. Don't take your life for granted as mine was changed and nearly taken in a moment...
Submitted by Louise at 08:58 AM on July 6, 2012
I only wish I could have found an advocate near me, when my 22 yo son got killed by a designated drunk driver. He left a 3 yo daughter and a 1 yo son. It was July 10, 1999. The anniversary is coming up and it's like going through it all over again. Even after 13 yrs it's still hard. God bless you and MADD. I am now a member of MADD.
Submitted by GYMDANDY at 04:07 PM on July 4, 2012
Submitted by Buffie at 07:25 PM on July 3, 2012
God wasn't finished with Steve that night. It's amazing what one can accomplish from such an accident. God Bless Madd and Steve for the work you accomplish.
Submitted by Donna at 06:27 PM on July 3, 2012
Steven, I am glad for you and your family,that you made a miraculous recovery. I am also glad that you are now representing victims and families of drunk driving losses. I get so frustrated when the drunk driver has more rights in the courts than the victim, because they're not here anymore to tell what happened, and their families who are left without them. Too many times the drunk driver gets a slap on the wrist, and only go out to drive drunk once again. May GOD Bless you with all that you do.
Submitted by laurieismadd at 02:19 PM on July 3, 2012
Steven's story and accomplishments should be a testimony to others who have or are facing his past that there is a light at the end of a long tunnel. He has turned his extreme pain and suffering around and is doing amazing things to help others. Kids today are shocked to learn that not to long ago cars were actually made without seatbelts! I hope and pray in the near future that they will say the same thing about people driving drunk. The senseless death, pain and tragic loss families suffer because of drunk drivers is so preventable. I want to thank Steven for all he is doing to further MADD's mission to eliminate drunk driving.
Submitted by Jeff G at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2012
I could not agree with your thoughts and plan to bring your son to Steve's talk, and making him aware of MADD ! My family has been effected by drunk drivers and alcholism in many different ways, fortunately no one has been killed or physically injured ...but the emotional toll has been overwhelming !
Submitted by MaryAnne at 10:20 AM on July 3, 2012
I am a mom of 3 teenage boys. One of my sons has been ticketed for underage drinking. I would love for Steven to email him and become a mentor for him. I am taking him to a MADD victim class. Sam is 18 and has his whole life ahead of him. I feel God brings people into our lives for a reason and I came upon this article for a reason. Thank you MaryAnne LoBosco Sam LoBosco MaryAnne LoBosco 630-724-7896

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