New York Injury Law Blog

Loved Ones Killed in Distracted Driving Wrecks

Distracted driving in New York and nationwide has been called a “dangerous epidemic” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The tragic example of Jacy Good is proof.

In May 2008, she and her parents were driving home after her college graduation when a teenage driver in another car reached for his cell phone and ran a red light. This caused an 18-wheeler to swerve and smash into the Goods’ car. Jacy suffered serious injuries. Both her parents were killed in the accident.

In 2011, a total of 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and another 387,000 people were injured.

To try and reduce those numbers, Good is visiting schools in New York to warn students of the deadly consequences of talking and texting on cell phones while behind the wheel.

She recently talked to a class of ninth- through 12th-graders at Mayfield Junior-Senior High School.

“Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, so it is very important for them to understand how they can be as safe as possible behind the wheel,” the Mayfield High Principal said in a news release.

This is from the Gloversville Leader Herald:

A member of the board of Focus Driven – Advocates for Cell-Free Driving, Good is an outspoken advocate for stronger laws against the use of mobile phones behind the wheel.

Describing herself as a “brain injury in action,” Good said she has limited use of her left ankle, which requires a brace, almost no use of her left arm, and neurological damage.

Good said she was lucky to have survived.

“Other lives are at risk,” she said, adding it’s only a matter of time before more people are touched by this kind of tragedy.

Other numbers from the NHTSA:

• Drivers under the age of 20 are far more likely to text behind the wheel than older drivers.
• Forty percent of all teens say they have been in a car with a driver who was distracted.
• Eleven percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
• Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

New York state law prohibits talking or texting on a cell-phone while driving.

Sources:

• Gloversville Leader Herald http://www.leaderherald.com/page/content.detail/id/553822/Fatal-Distraction.html?nav=5011

• National Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www.distraction.gov/

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