Crash Survivor Urges Cell Phone Laws; Education

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By Lisa Blackwell

State highway officials met in Montgomery Wednesday looking at ways to make Alabama’s roads safer.

In 2005, more than one thousand people died on Alabama roadways.

In 2010, more than 800 were killed on state roads, which is a 26 percent reduction.

As the state gets ready to roll out a new safety campaign, a young woman shared her own personal story of tragedy on a road in Pennsylvania with them.

She's urging states to focus on putting a stop to distracted driving through education and tougher laws.

Jacy Good and her fiancé Steve Johnson share the story like it was yesterday. In 2008 Good had just graduated college and was headed home with her parents. Their joy quickly ended when a teen driver got distracted.

Jacy Good, Distracted Driving Victim, says “As we came to that green light an 18 wheeler also came to that green light opposite us at the same time there was an eighteen year old man that was on the intersecting road that came to a red light and he was talking on his cell phone and never even saw the red light he turned left into the intersection, the tractor trailer tried to swerve to miss him and hit our family car head on.”

Her mother and father were killed in the accident. Good, who was riding in the front passenger seat, barely survived.

“I had a broken left tibia and fibula, two broken feet, a broken wrist, shattered pelvis, broken collar bone, lacerated liver, collapsed lungs, damaged carotid arteries and a traumatic brain injury,” said Good.

It’s been a very long road to recovery. Good was in the hospital four months then endured two years of rehabilitation. Through it all Johnson has been at her side.

Steve Johnson, Good’s Fiancé, says “Helping her get dressed every day helping her do what she needed to do to get ready to go out in the bathroom all those things to me it wasn't a choice.”

The physical scars are still painful but the emotional ones are even more so. Good and Johnson will marry soon but two beloved parents will not be there to share their joyous day.

“No conversation or text message, what was that young man talking about that was more important than both my parents lives and the livelihood I had planned for myself, says Good.

The accident left her permanently disabled but not discouraged. She now travels the country hoping to convince drivers to think before they talk or text and to push for tougher traffic laws.

“You don’t feel impaired, you feel like you’re a good driver and you can handle talking on the phone while driving but it’s just not true it makes you four times more likely to get into a car accident that will put someone in the hospital,” said Good.

The eighteen year old driver who was on the cell phone faced traffic violations but did not face criminal charges.

There is no law in Pennsylvania against talking on a cell phone while driving.

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