Fighting for a Cause
By Jessica Brandt
Dylan D’Alessio joined Wiss as an Intern and has since been hired to the Human Resources team. Throughout Dylan’s time at Wiss during workdays and participating in Wiss-letics, many people have noticed him sport a wristband and tattoo, both that read the name, “Kyleigh.”
In speaking more with Dylan, some have come to find out that Kyleigh was a beautiful, fun-spirited, ambitious student-athlete at West Morris Central High School. Kyleigh is also Dylan’s older sister who lost her life too soon in a 2006 car accident. Since that day, Dylan and his family have worked tirelessly with local and state law enforcement to establish in 2010 what is known today as “Kyleigh’s Law,” in the state of NJ.
It was December 2006 when the accident occurred under unfortunate circumstances. The driver had his GDL (provisional license that is received at 17 years of age). Under the provisional license, drivers are allowed 1 other person in the vehicle unless a parent is present. All provisional drivers were restricted to driving past midnight.
That tragic night, there was a GDL driver along with his older teenage brother and two teenage females, one being Kyleigh. Under the law, the driver was breaking the rules of the road and because of this reckless decision, two young teenagers, both with their whole lives ahead of them, were taken too soon.
A few months later, Dylan’s mother vowed that she would do everything she could to raise awareness to other parents, encouraging them to learn and enforce the rules of the provisional license, hoping to help prevent future accidents.
She researched the law further and found that there was no way for a cop to identify a GDL driver, thus coming up with the idea of creating a decal to put on the license plate. In addition, the law stated that the curfew would be an hour earlier at 11pm since statistics showed that most crashes occurred late at night and the chance of accidents were higher with multiple passengers in the car.
After a petition was signed lobbying for the law to be passed, Governor Corzine visited West Morris Central HS in 2009 to sign the law. A year later in May of 2010, the law went into effect and at this point in time, NJ recognizes Kyleigh’s Law. NY and MA currently have bills pending.
Although this accident forever changed the lives of Dylan and his family, they see no productivity in mourning. Instead they push on, continuing to spread awareness in memory of their beloved Kyleigh. In 2011, Dylan spoke at the NJ Teen Safe Driving Summit at Rutgers University, where he attended college. In 2013, he spoke at Rancocas Valley Regional High School to the junior class telling them his family’s story and the reasons it’s imperative for students to follow the law.
Furthermore, West Morris Central High School holds an annual 5k memorial walk/run in honor of Kyleigh and others who have lost their lives over the years. This year’s event was this past weekend, May 17th and since inception, the event has raised over $30,000. Kyleigh’s portion is used toward a scholarship fund for an outstanding female student-athlete.
While the void of Kyleigh’s presence is still felt among the family, they find peace in knowing that their efforts will help save other families from losing a loved one. Since Kyleigh’s law has been put into effect, statistics show that there are nearly 3,200 fewer teen crashes. Thanks to the Dylan and his mom, Kyleigh’s spirit continues to live on in the lives of those teens who were saved thanks to Kyleigh’s Law.
Learn more about the GDL and Kyleigh’s Law HERE.
In memory of Kyleigh D’Alessio.
Dylan, his younger sister and friends at the memorial walk for Kyleigh, Sunday May 17th.
Governor Corzine signing Kyleigh’s law into effect, with Dylan and his family in attendance.