Students Learn the Realities And Dangers of Distracted Driving
On Thursday, November 3, Hartford Central School District students in grades 10-12 learned about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving. Jacy Good and her husband Steve Johnson, who are advocates of distraction-free roads, travel to schools and other public forums to share their heart-breaking and life-altering tragedy as a result of a distracted driver.
This Is Their Story
On May 18, 2008, Jacy’s life was forever changed after leaving her college graduation ceremony and traveling home with her parents. They approached a green light on a relatively busy one-lane highway while an 18-year-old man talking on his cell phone approached the red light on the intersecting road. Unfortunately, he was paying more attention to his cell phone conversation than his driving environment and failed to notice the red light. As he entered the intersection, an oncoming tractor trailer swerved to miss the distracted driver, but hit the Good family’s car with full-force instead. The impact killed Jacy’s mother, Jean, and father, Jay. When the paramedics arrived Jacy wasn’t breathing. She was resuscitated by an EMT who was working in his yard nearby and heard the horrific crash. Once transported to a hospital, Jacy was given about a 10 percent chance of surviving the night. She defied the odds and slowly recovered from her numerous injuries, including multiple broken bones, a lacerated liver and a traumatic brain injury. Even after multiple surgeries and physical rehabilitation, Jacy is partially paralyzed with limited use of the left side of her body.
Jacy spent about four months in the hospital with her college sweetheart and now husband, Steve, at her side, as well as her older and only brother, Jerrod. Once out of a coma, she awoke to learn about the loss of her mother and father. Jacy's family had been cut by half. She said she had no memory of the accident and was not aware of any details. She conducted a Google search of her name and was horrified to find out that the crash was caused because a driver was on his cell phone. It should be noted that when Jacy and Steve share their story, they refer to it as a crash rather than an accident. “This was no accident. This was totally preventable and a result of poor judgment,” said Steve.
In sharing her story with the students, Jacy asked them to put themselves in her shoes and change whatever dangerous driving habits they might have. She asked them to think about some of their favorite activities and how they would feel if they could not do those activities. She suggested downloading a phone app such LifeSaver, which automatically sends a reply to incoming texts that the recipient is currently driving. The husband and wife team also identified other forms of distracted driving. “Distracted driving is anything which takes the mind off the road. Our brains are not designed to multi-task, but rather multi-toggle,” stated Jacy.
After the presentation, students wishing to speak with Jacy and Steve were invited to do so. There were many hugs exchanged and tears shed. Some students remarked they had not previously considered all of the various forms of distracted driving.
Hartford’s Middle/High School Principal Shelley Dupuis said, “Our students were fully engaged and asked great questions. I really believe Jacy and Steve’s story will make a big impact on them in making good decisions behind the wheel."
This visit from Jacy and Steve was made possible thanks to a grant from the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and SADD.
The video below ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️was shown as part of the presentation. You could hear a pin drop while it played.