A Drunk-Driving Victim to A Living Legacy: The Steven Benvenisti Story

A Drunk-Driving Victim to A Living Legacy: The Steven Benvenisti Story

On May 2022 Lunch and Learn Event: Legacy, Relax Teams invited Steven Benvenisti to share his inspiring story.

Declare your legacy to the world. Start with those close to you and you will make a difference.

Presentation by Steven Benvenisti

No matter where you are, whether in the city or out in the open, it can be hard to avoid alcohol-impaired drivers. There are thousands of people around the world who are being affected by it every day and many of them aren't lucky enough to get away with only minor injuries. But there is one way to put an end to this and it can start with you being knowledgeable about the consequences of alcohol-impaired driving and how this action affects everyone around us. If you are knowledgeable enough to educate other people about it, you will be able to make a huge difference, even if it means just saving one life.

There is an organization called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) that promotes awareness and prevention of drunk driving, as well as advocating for victims of these incidents. They strongly believe that ordinary people can make a difference. Therefore, they continuously educate them about the dangers of alcohol-impaired driving and also guide them in making responsible choices in order to help reduce the loss of innocent lives. Their success is so commendable that many individuals, including Steven Benvenisti, became driven to join them to save lives. 

Steven is very supportive of MADD. He was very much inspired by it that it became his motivation to practice law for all the victims of drunk driving. He is currently a personal injury attorney in one of the largest personal injury law firms at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon PC in Teaneck, New Jersey. As a matter of fact, he also became an inspiration to many victims to have hope and determination as he is also a victim himself. 

If you want to learn more about him, then continue reading because in this feature, not only will he share how he is connected with MADD, but he will also share his story as a survivor and how it made him who he is today.


See this related post from Tara Spohrer: Programs to Reduce Alcohol-Impaired Driving
A lot of people already know that driving while under the influence of alcohol isn't a good combination - however, despite the possible damage that it will cause their lives, many still do it even until this very day. You might presume that the number of drunk driving accidents should be lower than before as we have been on lockdown for the last couple of years due to the spread of COVID-19. But unfortunately, according to NHTSA’s recent report, it is the complete opposite as the numbers have increased more this year. It has been stated that even if the vehicle miles traveled went down at 11%, the impaired driving fatalities still went up at 14%.


 Spring Break: A True Story of Hope and Determination is a book about Steven Benvenisti's journey being a victim of a pedestrian crash.

The Journey of Steven Benvenisti

Steven is an author of a book called Spring Break: A True Story of Hope and Determination. His inspiration for this book actually came from his journey being a victim of a pedestrian crash. This tragedy happened to him when he was 21 years old and a senior at the College of New Jersey.

He was an outstanding student. He was in a fraternity, the college homecoming king, and the top student of a class at the College of New Jersey. His life was basically perfect but not until one night he was out with this friend on spring break. There were only six weeks left before graduation and he did not expect that his life was going to turn.

A drunk driver, who is a repeat offender, ran over him at over 50 miles per hour. “I was thrown 70 feet. I had horrific orthopedic injuries with both of his legs, lost a lot of blood, and was knocked into the deepest possible coma”, Steven added. He was also said to be in the lowest level of Glasgow Coma, which is the most extreme, high mortality rate. For that reason, he remained in the hospital for about half a year and underwent 15 surgeries.

After a few months, something unusual happened. He wound up having a recovery which is great but somewhat surprising because only a few people actually survive from this level of coma. He even said that “people on this level would be either in the state of being profoundly disabled or in a permanent condition with no cure”.

It is very clear that his experience was quite extreme. He went through a lot of extraordinary surgeries and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, but he was still positive to move on with his life. He was also asked if he gets the chance to change whatever happened to him in the past, will he be willing to change it and live a different life? His response to that question is that he wouldn’t change a single thing because all his past experience is what brought him to where he is today.

I'm in a very good place now. And I'm here with all of you. I am now connected with such amazing non-profit Mothers Against Drunk Driving.”

Steven is one living legacy. He wouldn’t want anyone to experience the pain that he experienced from this tragedy that is why he gives as much as he can to MADD to help prevent this from happening. 

What I am most grateful for because of what happened to me is that since that time, over half a million students have taken a pledge. If ever in their life they're going to drink, they will not drive. And if they're around people who make the decision to drink, they will do what they can within reason to stop them from getting behind the wheel of their car and that place will last. And if there's any legacy that I could have, I would hope that this would be it.”
- Steven Benvenisti


Shaping the legacy

According to Steven, shaping his legacy was very hard to do alone. Sharing his experience with other people and educating them about the negative results of drunk driving isn’t an easy mission. “I'm the president of the board of the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey and physicians groups around the world. They contact me regularly so that I can share with them how it is that I had this unusual recovery”, he added.

That is why he is very glad to find an organization that has the same mission and has a strong hope for people to change for a better community. He said that he is very privileged to be part of it because it isn’t like any non-profit he has ever seen as it is something that really shows results. There are fewer crashes and there are lives being saved because of their increased volunteering and increased support.

He also said that the impact of seeing a loss of one life is just profound. He would even hear people say, “if you can just save one life, then it's worthwhile” and that is something to be really proud of. People thinking to take action just so they could save one life gives that one person a lot of hope and opportunity to continue to grow, have a family, or contribute to society. 

“So to be a part of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the fact that there is supporting data that shows that our efforts at MADD have resulted in a direct impact on lives being saved and crashes being prevented in every single state is the biggest honor and legacy that I can be associated with.”


See this related post from Jill Sarkozi, Lisa Dvorin, & Candido Rodriguez: How To Build Your Legacy
They say life is short, and with the current pandemic, it has never been more true. A lot of us created a list of the things we want to do before we die. However, have you also asked yourself what are the things you want to leave behind?


The pledge: if you're going to drink, you will not drive and take it a little bit further.

The Pledge

Steven, along with the RELAX teams members and all the viewers who are watching the live stream video, took a pledge on May 12th, 2022:

“That's the day that you took a bus to, we took a place, and if you're going to drink, you will not drive and take it a little bit further.”

“You're going to have so many experiences in your lives. We will be around someone who's made the decision to drink and they should not be driving.”

“Remember the promise, the pledge that you made May 12th, 2022, and stop them. It isn't going to be easy. And they may even be a little angry at you that night for trying to stop them from drinking and driving.”

“But that same person will be alive the next day saying “thank you for saving my life”. And just remember the inexplicable value of just one life being saved and the exponential benefit that comes from just that.”



One thing that Steven wants all the people to take away from this talk is to enjoy, live, and genuinely embrace every single moment in your life despite all the predicaments you have faced in the past. What matters right now is that you are very blessed that you are alive on this earth, breathing, and being able to contribute well to the community.

“And don't put your mind to the future, which isn't real right now. Keep it in the present and keep smiling and enjoy the ride. Which is how I've been going about my life since March 20th, 1989, when the drunk driver had fresh into my body.”
-Steven Benvenisti


Steven Benvenisti

Steven Benvenisti is a Partner at the New Jersey and New York Law personal injury law firm of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon. He is of the less than 3% of attorneys in his state Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney. He is licensed to practice law in New Jersey & Pennsylvania.

Over 30 awards for his legal and volunteer work. The government has honored him with a: United States Official Proclamation and Congressional Citation, along with a U.S. House of Representatives Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.

In his volunteer capacity, he is the co-chair of the Board of Directors of Mothers Against Drunk Driving NY/NJ/PA and formerly served 2 terms on the National Board of Directors of MADD. He is also the President of the Board of the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey and on the Board of Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation.

His specialties include Personal Injury Law and Nonprofit work and his ideal clients are victims of car crashes.

May 2022 Lunch and Learn Event Legacy


Recommended Readings:

  • Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatments May Be Tax Deductible
  • Your Legacy and Its Impact on Those You will Leave Behind
  • Mothers Achieving Stable Recovery with CGE
  • How Prevention Links Help Individuals with Substance Use Disorder


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