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10th annual RAP event to focus on distracted driving issues

Looking to educate young drivers and emphasize the importance of paying attention behind the wheel, several local agencies, service providers and educational institutions are collaborating to bring national speaker Jacy Good to the SUNY Oswego campus.

Good, a survivor of a crash caused by a distracted driver in 2008, will tell her story during the Regional Awareness Program for young drivers at 7 p.m. March 26 in the Hewitt Union ballroom.

The 10th annual program is free to the public and is sponsored by Oswego County BOCES, the Oswego County Traffic Safety Board, New York State University Police at Oswego and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Good will speak about the accident that changed her life on her college graduation day.

The car carrying her and her parents was struck head-on by a tractor trailer as the truck swerved to avoid a vehicle — whose driver was talking on his cellphone — making an illegal left turn through a red light.

The accident killed Good’s parents and left her badly injured, with a 10 percent chance of survival.

However, after multiple surgeries and physical therapy, Good beat the odds and has made it her mission to educate people about the dangers of cellphone use behind the wheel and to advocate for legislation to help crack down on distracted driving.

According to Billie Crandall Brady, coordinator of the Oswego County Traffic Safety Board, Good’s story is a powerful one that will hopefully resonate with the audience at the RAP program.

“I’m hoping kids will walk away from the program with the ability to make better choices about who they get in the car with and they’ll speak up if their taxi driver is texting, if their friend is texting, if their mother is texting, I don’t care who it is,” Brady said. “Just hang up and drive. It’s very simple.”

According to Brady, students and young drivers aren’t the only demographic that makes reckless decisions behind the wheel.

“It’s not just teenagers texting,” she said. “It’s adults too. So many people are guilty of either talking or texting or distracted in other ways. I encourage parents and adults to come to the event too.”

In addition to Good’s discussion, the program will offer police agency exhibits, student projects, and a STOP DWI display.

Parking is free in campus lots 18 and 32, adjacent to Hewitt Union and Culkin Hall at the Route 104 entrance.

For more information, call Brady at 343-2344 ext. 22.