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A Good Cause Jacy Good visits Cocalico High School and continues to advocate for safe roads
By: LUCY RICCOMINI Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
"My handicaps were caused by a driver who was talking on a cell phone. The other two people in the car were killed. Please, hang up and drive."
That is the sign that Jacy Good wears across her back.
And the other two people were her parents.
In May of 2008, Jacy Good and her parents were traveling back from Allentown after her graduation from Muhlenberg College.
"It was suppose to be the greatest day of my life — graduating from college with all kinds of honors, having my dream job lined up, and the whole world ahead of me — and then in an instant one person’s inattention caused sadness and pain that will last the rest of my life," recalled Good of the fatal car accident that killed both her parents and left her clinging to life.
A 19-year-old driver talking on his cell phone ran a red light. An 18-wheeler swerved to miss him and hit the Good’s car.
Due to the severity of her injuries, doctors gave Good a 10 percent chance of survival. It took two months before Good realized her parents didn’t survive the accident. It took four months for her to leave the hospital. It took six months for her to have the strength to begin her mission to speak out.
"I spent all the spare time I had when I wasn’t in therapy trying to get my body to work again and trying to use my face and my story to help get laws past," said Good. "Because there are no laws, no criminal charges were pressed at the time so I knew I needed to get a law passed and I spent about three years doing whatever I could to get the law passed from press conferences, to interviews and letters to the editor."
Because of people like Good and organizations like the National Safety Council and Focus Driven, people are beginning to recognize the dangers of driving while operating a cell phone. According to both advocacy groups, about 5,500 are killed because of cell phone crashes and injuries are in the 500,000 a year range.
Currently the only law that exists against cell phone use is no texting while driving. A $50 fine is issued to drivers who are caught while texting.
A main issue with the law is that police are having a difficult time enforcing it because handheld devices are still allowed to be operated while driving. Legislature’s next move is to ban hand-held cell phones. At least two bills seek to ban cell phone use and a second would allow cities to determine their own laws. Good focuses remains on laws, but also understands that raising awareness is just as important.
"If I can just show people of what they’re capable of preventing — I want to be part of making that cultural change."
Good spends about 150 days a year on the road, speaking to high schools, corporations, churches and many other organizations. She has been featured on local and national news and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
And each time she tells her story, you could her a pin drop as she describes the pain of that one fateful day.
"I just want them to come into my life and see the world as I see the world and try and stand in my shoes and imagine what it would be like for them if they lost both their parents or a best friend or if it touched them anyway in their life," continued Good. "And how that might feel and make that concrete decision to change their own habits to make a difference on our roads."
Good will continue speaking out until everyone has heard her voice and her story. "My hope is that I will be out of a job and people won’t be dying or getting hurt. Because I certainly didn’t plan it this way and would undo it a million times."
For more information on the advocacy group Focus Driven visit focusdriven.org. or for more information on Jacy Good speaking at an event, visit hangupanddrive.com. " If I can just show people of what they’re capable of preventing — I want to be part of making that cultural change."
Jacy Good More GOOD, page A10