‘Shut up and Drive': QuinnaPR hosts event to combat distracted driving

By on May 4, 2011

May 18, 2008 was supposed to be the best day of Jacy Good’s life–the day she graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. Afterward, she was supposed to start her new job at Habitat for Humanity in New York City, where she would live with her best friend in the same city as her fiance, Steve Johnson. Her future was bright, but that all changed with an act of carelessness from a driver.

Good and her parents were driving home after her graduation when a tractor trailer hit their car. The tractor trailer was trying to avoid a third car, whose driver was talking on his cell phone while driving.

Both of Good’s parents died, but she managed to survive. She suffered life-threatening injuries, including several broken bones and injuries to her brain.

“The thing is that everyone thinks they’re capable of doing it,” Good said. “They think, ‘I’m a safe driver, I’m capable of talking on the phone while driving my car.’ You might get away with it most of the time, but there’s always that one time.”

Johnson spent a large portion of the presentation talking about the ordeal his then-fiancee Good went through after being involved in the car crash. Initially, the doctors told Johnson and Good’s brother that her chance of living after going through surgery was only 10 percent. But day after day, Good continued to beat the odds.

Slowly, Good started making strides, including waking up two weeks after the accident, moving to a rehabilitation hospital two months later, walking one month after that, and finally getting to move back home four months after the accident.

During rehab and also initially after she got home, Good had to relearn basic everyday functions and activities of a normal human being. This was a struggle, considering the fact she did not remember what happened to her. To find out what had happened to her and her parents, Good read through newspaper articles.

Good talked about her efforts to make distracted driving illegal. She has presented in front of politicians in Pennsylvania, and the majority voted against making distracted driving a law. To this day, a law against distracted driving still hasn’t been passed in Pennsylvania.

She has also been to the United Nations and on “Oprah” to spread her message. She recently began speaking at high schools. Quinnipiac is the first college she and her husband have spoken.

Despite all of his efforts to curb its use while driving, Johnson still favors technology and its benefits.

“Certainly, I don’t ever think I’m going to stop texting unless there’s a new technology that comes along,” Johnson said. “I’ve been texting for six or seven years, and I don’t think I’ll stop until I’m at an old age. If I’m doing that behind the wheel for that many years, something bad is bound to happen.”

Still, the couple stressed multiple times to make good decisions and to stop using the phone while driving. Good added that 15 people are killed from distracted-driving accidents every day, and 450,000 people are injured from similar accidents.

Senior Julia Bucchianeri, a member of the QuinniaPR, added an interesting statistic after the presentation.

“We looked at some statistics before we attended the event, and one of the staggering ones we found is that a drunk driver and a person that is texting while driving are compared,” Bucchianeri said. “They are both going 35 miles an hour. The person texting while driving takes about 35 feet to stop, while a drunk driver takes about only four or five feet to stop.”

Senior Bianca Simboli, another member of QuinniaPR, hopes the presentation resonated with the community.

“We can only hope that other people on campus will want to spread the word,” Simboli said. “It’s great that everybody that was here tonight was here. I can only hope that more people will want to get involved and that more people will start to feel as strongly as we do on this issue.”

Photo credit: Austin Hopkins

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