Why We’re Here: Steven Benvenisti

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.