JAMESTOWN – A person’s testimony is often needed to serve as a wake-up call, especially when discussing the dangers of distracted driving.
Jacy Good and Steve Johnson gave their harrowing testimony during a presentation to area high school students Tuesday morning at the Reg Lenna Center For The Arts on East Third Street.
Good spoke to WNYNewsNow before her presentation, providing a brief synopsis of what she presents to students both nationally and internationally, as well as describing what her goal is with each session.
“Ten years ago, I lost both of my parents and almost my own life at the hands of a driver who was distracted by his cell phone,” Good said. “Today, I am lucky enough to be sharing that story with every high school student in Chautauqua County, trying to help us all drive the way that we know we should drive and be a little bit smarter and a little bit safer every single time we get on the road.”
“A lot of people like to blame young people, and young people are a big part of the problem, but it’s all of us. It’s looking in the mirror and figuring out what we know is the right thing to do.”
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace echoed Good’s sentiments about young people being distracted while driving.
“Distracted driving is such a problem with every age group, but especially with young drivers,” Gerace said. “We are seeing it as dangerous, or more dangerous, than drunk driving. It’s growing at an unbelievable rate, the number of fatalities that are related to distracted driving.”
“Anything we can do to get this message home and try to reduce the frequency of distracted driving is a benefit.”
The Sheriff’s Office donated forfeiture money to pay for bracelets for the students that say, “For Jacy. For Me. Hang Up And Drive.”
Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson, who helped coordinate the event with forfeiture funding of its own, also shared a story in which he, himself, experienced distracted driving.
Swanson recalled a day earlier this decade in which he was driving to deliver closing arguments for a federal case he was involved in after staying up all night to prepare. Swanson said that he was distracted so much by a phone conversation he was having and lack of sleep that he drove through an entire city, despite paying attention to the road and having his hands on the wheel.
Good and Johnson made two presentations Tuesday to area students, and are scheduled to make two more at the Reg Lenna Wednesday.