TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Linda Silva has a powerful message for you. It's a message and a lesson she wishes she did not have to confront.
Linda Silva stood on the steps of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday and told the story of losing her 19-year-old son Alex.
She tells her story as part of the "Be Ready for the Road Ahead" campaign. It aims to increase safe driving practices for drivers between the ages of 15 and 20. Those drivers are three times more likely to have crashes.
In 2009, Alex Silva had just finished his second year in college. One night, he was drinking with friends at a house not far from his own home. Alex was about 90 seconds away from his house, so when he called to check in with Linda that night, she figured he was OK.
Then he drove his car, impaired. When he dropped his cell phone, he swerved off the road and hit a tree.
Linda said Alex died instantly.
"At that point he was 45 seconds away from us. That changed our lives forever and it doesn't just affect the mother or the father or the sister. It affects family. It affects friends. It affects society at large. We lose too many of these kids and we need to have parents talking to their children about how serious driving is."
The Florida Association of DUI Programs is launching the "Road Ahead" campaign to help make young drivers safer on the road.
The campaign includes billboards across the state and efforts to raise awareness of driving hazards.
Linda Silva said driving is the most dangerous thing you do every day. She urges parents to set an example for their children.
"They need to be putting their seat belts on. They need to be putting their cell phones down and parents need to be the example. They need to be really thinking about the decisions that they're making and how it affects them."
"When you lose a child, you lose the future. You lose everything associated with that child. Families are hurt, destroyed in some cases, marriages fall apart. Children are such a gift to us and for those of you who have them, treasure them because they can be here today and gone tomorrow."