This year’s Students Against Drinking and Driving Scholarship winner is Peter E. Kelly. His winning essay focused on a former friend, Daniel, who made the decision to drive a short distance while intoxicated. The consequences of that choice have utterly changed his life and those of many others.
Daniel was involved in a collision with a motorcyclist who was speeding. However, that mitigating circumstance did not erase Daniel’s culpability in the eyes of the law. As a result of his decision to drive, the motorcycle rider lost his life and Daniel spent time behind bars.
“Daniel eventually lost his case; sentenced to 4-6 years in a state correctional facility,” Kelly wrote. “He served just over 4 years and is now a convicted felon. His father is broke [from legal fees]. His brother does not want to have a relationship with him. The mother of the motorcycle rider has devoted the rest of her life and resources to pursuing every civil action available.”
The story highlights the fact that even a seemingly harmless decision, even a trip of less than a mile, can ruin both your own life and those of countless other people. Family members of Daniel and the deceased motorcyclist are all affected, as well as friends.
Now, Peter E. Kelly tells the story of his former coworker and friend Daniel when anyone around him is thinking about driving after a few drinks. “I resort to the horror story and verbal slap to the face,” wrote Kelly. “That is usually when they take the spot on the couch for the night, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.”
Peter Kelly’s Studies
A student at the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Peter E. Kelly majors in Information Technology with a focus on Privacy and Network Security matters. “We are in the middle of a personal data gold rush,” he told representatives of Sevenish Law Firm, “and I want to be involved.”
His plans for the future include possibly heading into public service offices or traveling across the country and abroad. Regardless of where Kelly’s path takes him, though, his main efforts will include communication and outreach on best practices to secure private data.
In the meantime, Kelly works part-time while attending class full-time. He is an independent CNC programmer and “keeps busy” with carpentry jobs (both for pay and on a volunteer basis). He recently finished remodeling a home.
Check out Peter E. Kelly’s winning essay to hear Daniel’s story and learn more about how drinking and driving can drastically change your life for the worse.