NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Jacy Good wants New Canaan High School students to consider the effects of chatting, texting or surfing the Web on a cellphone while driving.
“It’s not only the people it happens to,” said Good, 25, the guest speaker at a distracted driving forum Wednesday at New Canaan High. “It’s everyone who loves and cares for those people.”
Good was in the hospital for months after an accident four years ago near Reading, Pa., shortly after her graduation from Muhlenberg College. While she and her parents were driving home, the station wagon the Goods were in was hit by a tractor-trailer. It had swerved to avoid a vehicle driven by a man who ran a red light while talking on his cellphone. Good’s parents died in the accident.
During her recovery, Good has made it her mission to travel the country to talk with young people about the dangers of distracted driving. That has had in the news since a 16-year-old New Canaan girl was charged with negligent homicide in the death of a jogger in March in Norwalk. Police say the girl was using her iPhone while driving when the accident occurred.
Good said she hopes her story will encourage teens and other drivers to put down their phones and refrain while talking or texting while on the road, whether it means putting a phone in a glove compartment or even in the trunk.
“What inspires me to keep telling this story is this problem can be solved. We can do something about this,” she said.
Marie Trant, owner of the Lewis School of Driving, urged parents to be role models and teach young drivers how to drive safely, including by not using phones themselves on the road because kids tend to emulate their parents.
Jackie Lenihan of New Canaan, who took her son Charlie, 15, to the forum, appreciated hearing from Good. She says she sees about “four or five” people on their cellphones while driving on town streets. “I’m trying to understand how we can prevent accidents and keep kids and everyone else safe,” Lenihan said.