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#35: Jacy Good and Steve Johnson at NSC 2019

September 10, 2019 | 47 minutes 36 seconds

Jill James, Chief Safety Officer, and podcast host talks with Jacy Good and Steve Johnson about their story, Hang Up and Drive, as well as what it’s like to be married public speakers on the road together.

Links and Show Notes

Hang Up and Drive - https://hangupanddrive.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/JacyGood/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/jacygood

Transcript

Jill:

This is the Accidental Safety Pro live at the 2019 National Safety Congress and Expo in Sunny San Diego. My name is Jill James Vivid's Chief Safety Officer and today I'm joined by Jacy Good and Steve Johnson, road safety advocates and founders of Hang Up and Drive. Welcome to the podcast.

Steve:

Thanks.

Jill:

So, Hang Up and Drive, how did that get it's start?

Steve:

Oh, boy.

Jill:

What does it mean?

Steve:

That's you, start us off.

Jacy:

When I was driving home from my college graduation with my parents 11 years ago, a driver, talking on his speaker phone, he thinks he's doing everything right, his hands are on the wheel gets to a red light, and he stops. He was looking at the windshield, but then was so distracted by this cell phone conversation.

He turned left through the red light. As a result an 18-wheeler swerved trying to miss him and, unfortunately, hit my family's car. Both of my parents were killed on impact. I wasn't breathing. Coincidence of a paramedic living nearby a hospital right down the road keeping me alive and helping me to fight through months of surgeries and rehabilitation and getting my life back.

Jill:

Thus, Hang Up and Drive?

Jacy:

Hang Up and Drive.

Jill:

Wow.

Steve:

The short version of how we got to found Hang Up and Drive is, after the crash, I guess, we should establish that we were a couple from the very beginning of freshman year of college, so this is now graduation day and we have life planned, as a couple [crosstalk 00:01:58].

Jill:

Not only are you founders of this business, but you're a couple before what happened to your family, Jacy?

Jacy:

Yeah.

Steve:

As she slowly heals over months and really years but, especially those first critical months, she just wanted to do something about distracted driving. This was the thing that caused this horrible-

Jacy:

Tragedy.

Steve:

.... event. Tragedy, I don't know the word to use sometimes. And she tried to get laws passed in Pennsylvania where this happened and that just got her name out there and she kept fighting and fighting and fighting. The big turning point was Jacy was wearing a sign on her back. You want to talk about that quick?

Jacy:

I was 21 years old and I walked with a cane and I had half my body not really working and people would stare at me in really uncomfortable kind of way. People would stop me and say, "What happened to you?" Or, "What's wrong with you?" I was like, "Okay."

Jill:

Humanity, so interesting.

Jacy:

I couldn't keep it short, it was I had to tell them, "Someone on a cell phone did this to me." And I kind of got sick of answering the questions [inaudible 00:03:09] thought I was just as easy to put it on my back.

Jill:

So, what did the sign on your back say?

Jacy:

"My handicaps were caused by a driver on his cell phone. The other two people in the car were killed. Please, hang up and drive."

Steve:

That got some local media attention around where we were then living with my parents, which happened about six months after she was out of the hospital. We moved, because we kind of needed that support. So, it got local New York media attention and it built and built and built and, eventually, she was on the Oprah Winfrey Show. After that, we realized maybe giving speaking engagements, presentations, was a way we could really make change. Just change people's behaviors instead of changing the laws, so that's when we thought of Hang Up and Drive. That was 2010 and that ball has been rolling ever since.

Jacy:

To be fair, we didn't really think of Hang Up and Drive. My Dad had a bumper sticker that said, "Hang Up the Drive"

Jill:

No way. Wow.

Jacy:

From before everyone had a cell phone. My Dad always taught me driving is dangerous. You got to pay attention. Don't be on your phone, back in the days when phones were nothing.

Jill:

Hang up And Drive, so the inspiration came from your dad?

Jacy:

Yeah.

Jill:

How wonderful is that? Jacy, when you're recovering, at what point did you get this drive? Was it immediate, "I've got to be an advocate," Or what stirred in you to say, "I really have to do this, and you and Steve came together and said, "Okay, we're going to make this happen"

Jacy:

I think the first inspiration was the fact that no one was punished. Two people broke laws from running a red light and swerving to the wrong side of the road as this tractor trailer did, but because there were no laws about cell phones and driving in Pennsylvania at the time, the district attorney determined that no one was responsible for killing my parents.

Jill:

Wow.

Jacy:

That didn't kind of add up to me. So I first started trying to get a law passed, that got my name out and then, it was your high school, was the very first place we spoke just neighbors talking to neighbors got us into his high school. It felt good. It was terrifying, because public speaking is terrifying. It was a scary first endeavor, but we got through it and felt really, really good afterwards and knew we can put our lives into this.

Steve:

It was just us reading off of note cards, basically.

Jill:

The two of you did it together the first time in your high school, Steve?

Steve:

Yeah, right off the bat.

Jacy:

At that point, it was in part because I was still so injured, physically and emotionally. I really was not able to talk about it on my own for the length of a high school class period. Beyond that, there were three months of my life that I couldn't remember in that hospital where Steve was there by my side and could-

Jill:

He was the memory.

Jacy:

... fill in those memories.

Jill:

You had said you were on your way to college graduation. Did you both graduate at the same time?

Jacy:

Same day.

Steve:

Yeah.

Jill:

Same day, so what were your degrees?

Jacy:

My degree was in International Studies and German Studies. I had two majors. My job was with Habitat for Humanity that I would live in New York City, I would learn how to build houses, I'd be part of kind of the environmental... Making sure there's nothing terrible in these houses that's going to harm the people moving into them or harm our environment in the process. It was through the organization, AmeriCorps. Am I remembering right? It was $11,000 for the whole year of living in New York City learning how to-

Steve:

There was no housing stipend either, that was it.

Jill:

Basically, you would have had two more jobs, at least?

Jacy:

Yeah.

Jill:

What about you, Steve? What was your...

Steve:

I was about as far opposite as you can get. My two majors were International Business and Finance and I had a job lined up for after graduation at a bank that was sort of near where I lived, so I could live with my parents in New York, save money. This bank was in Connecticut. That was sort of at least the plan. She was going to be in Brooklyn for at least a year and I was an hour away or so and we could see each other on the weekends. We certainly knew-

Jacy:

You would propose?

Steve:

Yeah. There's rules...

Jill:

Steve.

Steve:

We talked about that stuff.

Jill:

Sure.

Steve:

There were no hard plans, but we certainly expected to stay a couple and to figure it out in the real world after college campus is very much a bubble and we made it work there, so we were ready for that. Part of why her story... But I guess it's our story [crosstalk 00:08:19] is so awful is because this crash was on the way home from college graduation. That's one of the things that gets media attention, let's say.

It's true that that's horrible, but it also put us in a place where we just didn't start those jobs. I could be in the hospital every single day for four months with her and we didn't have to... We just called these companies and said, "I'm sorry this happened." They obviously were okay that we were not going to be working for them. It put us in a position where we could focus on different things that were more at that time.

Jill:

Yes, of course. What a way to start graduation, just like the mechanics of it you didn't really have that first job so how did you have a health insurance? I mean that's a thing.

Jacy:

Incredible story. It was 2008 so, my dad could not insure me unless I was a student. So my insurance ended graduation day. [crosstalk 00:09:25]. My Dad called me a month before graduation and said, "It's a month before your job starts in July after you graduate. Do you want me to buy you health insurance for that month just in case anything happens?" And I said, "I'm healthy. I'll be fine."

Jill:

You said what every college-

Jacy:

Don't worry about it. Thank everything on the universe. My Dad did not listen to me. My Dad bought that health insurance and-

Steve:

The policies started the day of the crash.

Jill:

Wow.

Jacy:

It saved us a lifetime of debt.

Steve:

We were told that first hospital... She was in the hospital... Regular hospital for two months, one of those is ICU. And one of them was a regular care floor. We were told that that would've been $2 million. And then the Rehab Hospital for another two months would have been $1 million. So that's Jacy Good looking down on us from heaven.

Jill:

Wow.

Steve:

And I was always stole my parent's insurance. I forget my mom had [crosstalk 00:10:26] a accompany or plant, whatever it was that I was allowed to stay on. And then when Obamacare finally happened, maybe that was 2010 a couple of years after her company could insure me until I was 30 and I'm only 33 so I was on my mom's insurance until I was 30 which was great. Thank goodness. Now because we're self employed, I'm on... What is it? The exchange-

Jill:

The exchange.

Steve:

.... whatever you want to call it nystateofhealth.com [crosstalk 00:10:48] and it's expensive.

Jill:

Yes, it is.

Jacy:

But it matters.

Jill:

It does matter. I mean, and this is real life stuff, here you are about to set your life I mean everyone who's graduating from college and is looking for... Thinking about all those things. Their biggest decision is, "Does the company have health insurance and which plan should I take? And what's a premium? And figuring it out." And you're like, "This is all dumped on you a whole life restart, including all of those things." So as you've been doing this business together for now, how many years?

Jacy:

Nine.

Steve:

I mean, we've been giving speeches since... Our first six speeches were in 2010.

Jill:

Wow.

Steve:

Maybe actually incorporated the end of 2011-

Jacy:

2011.

Steve:

.... something like that.

Jill:

So I'm curious, have you used those college degrees? Have you delivered your... What you talk about in German?

Jacy:

Not yet. Have I used my college degree? I wouldn't say specifically, but because we went to a liberal arts college, I know so much of what I use in creating and presenting came from the classes, sharing the skills I learned in classes that maybe aren't related to public speaking or driver's safety.

Jill:

And did that finance degree come in handy as a founder of a business?

Steve:

Yeah, a little bit. But I sort of would echo what she said. I feel just the general growth of having gone through college and all that means is more of what makes me the adult that I am now.

Jill:

You guys kind of had a fast on ramp to adulting. So with regard to being road safety advocates and some of the things that you're talking about now, I know you have some particular big points that you're trying to share with audiences when you're speaking with them now. And I know one of them has to do with cognitive demands on the brain. Can you speak more to what that is and what kind of message you want people to know about?

Jacy:

Anything that sounds like a distraction is a distraction. Distraction has existed since cars were invented and all of a sudden we have more people dying on our roads than have died in the last many decades because, why? Thing that's changed is that we all have a computer in our pocket, and we're being urged to use them because it's built into the car, and we're told it's safe. But you look at the science, you look at what the National Safety Council has been collecting for decades.

We know there's no improvement in our ability to drive safely. If I have phones in our hands, or it's coming through the speakers. Stick shift car isn't making us crash, one hand on the wheel is generally okay. But you talk about what goes on in our brains and we can't do it all.

Steve:

It's one of the big things where maybe the biggest, at least science part of what we're trying to get across to our audiences is that we've just kind of been misled to believe that Bluetooth is the solution, factually and I've looked at this a million times. There's so many studies we can point to. You're only 0.5% safer using Bluetooth versus holding the phone. So in either of those situations, a person is four times more likely to crash than if you were just paying attention and driving. That's the same as driving at the 0.08 blood alcohol content. So you see somebody talking on the phone, which we all see every time we're in the car.

Even if it's on Bluetooth, that person is essentially driving at the legally drunk limit. This is a pretty good buzz to driver. And when you look around the world there's a lot of countries that they've been on top of this and the science has been there as Jacy said for a long time. I think maybe here it's just being suppressed. Maybe there's lobbyists involved, there's a lot of money where they're selling us Bluetooth devices-

Jill:

So, laws are different in different countries?

Steve:

There're places we-

Jill:

Talk about that.

Steve:

.... meet people...

Jacy:

Within our country, it's state by state, and it really varies there are still states in this country that have no regulation regarding cell phones and driving, which is terrifying. But you start to look around the country or around the world, what do we know? We met a man from Singapore he was just talking about the enforcement that, you know, if you use your phone in any capacity, you will be ticketed, you will be fined.

Steve:

And that includes Bluetooth. It is illegal to use even Bluetooth in Singapore. And you he said people obey that law because it's very strictly inforced.

Jacy:

What else? You're better at this part.

Steve:

Well, I think Japan is another one. Portugal we know is one, and more and more countries are moving in that direction. I think it's maybe Sweden is moving that way too.

Jacy:

And the UK, the UK is falling apart with Brexit right now, but they're also moving to get a complete handheld and hands-free ban for all drivers.

Steve:

It's less politically toxic than it is here.

Jill:

Because they're paying attention to the... They're listening to the science.

Steve:

Yeah.

Jacy:

Yeah.

Jill:

Interesting.

Steve:

There're some countries where they treat it like drunk driving. You could actually be arrested for using your phone behind the wheel.

Jacy:

But then our country, I want to say there's 35 states. There's a bunch of states that outlaw everything. If you're under 18, or under 21 for young drivers, which it's a step in the right direction, but it feels like if we're protecting our young people in that way, why doesn't it apply to me too?

Jill:

Absolutely. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing that piece on the research. I think that will be... I bet people's eyes kind of open up to that when you give that statistic on point... What'd you say? 0.5%?

Steve:

0.5% [crosstalk 00:16:43] is the only difference you're making by using Bluetooth. It's the one thing you can guarantee after every one of our corporate events and adult is going to walk up to us and say, "I had no idea and you've changed my mind."

Jacy:

There's a lot of research with MRI scans looking at where the activity in our brain is happening that like we need our brains to drive a car. Whether we pay attention to that or not. Then you add in another task talking about the idea of multitasking, which scientists say our brains can't do. When we do two things at once, our brain hops back and forth between those two things. Talking on the phone, or trying to drive a car. It's almost 40% less activity in your brain associated with the road. So you basically become blind to things that are right in front of you.

Jill:

That's the way it is. So something else that gets under it sounds like your skin and under... Well many safety professionals skin is, we don't like to use the word accident and many of us don't believe in accidents. This podcast is called the Accidental Safety Pro, which that accidental piece is intended to be a pun by a way of how you found your way into this industry, which applies to you as well with an...

Jacy:

Absolutely.

Jill:

With an actual event that happened. But talk about why you don't like to use the word accident and what you're using in it's place?

Jacy:

For me, what happened to me wasn't an accident. Someone made the choice to use his phone and drive. And that choice led to the death of two people. I didn't use my phone when I drove because my parents taught me not to. They taught me it was dangerous. And I think looking at the way we talk about it, if you call it an accident, all of a sudden no one's responsible. Again, there's no accountability. We're not responsible for our own actions. And so I think if we say we use crash most of the time in place of it, collision wreck even. I guess maybe if you talk to the safety industry they say a wreck applies to a boat, I want to say.

Jill:

[crosstalk 00:18:59] Oh, right. I think you're...

Steve:

She used the word wreck in a presentation and afterwards a real grammar stickler came up and said, "You know, wreck is really only for boats."

Jill:

There's always one in every... I don't know, five audiences or something we can track that.

Steve:

But it's just not a woopsie situation. Statistically they say 94% of all crashes are caused by some form of human error, it's choices. It's choices to drive too fast, or to drink, or use drugs, or to use your phone, whatever it is. We're responsible, humans need to take... You hear it on the radio, you're listening to the traffic report and there's an accident here. There's an accident there. And it just starts to feel like there no blame to be put out in the world, and I just think it's unfair to do that. I think we need to use the word crash.

Jacy:

And I think you can read a little bit of the history and look back in automotive history and cars were killing people and people were scared of the automotive industry, and they didn't want cars. So the automotive industries said, "Oh, it's not a car crash, it's an accident." And all of a sudden they're not responsible. We're not responsible. So there was a whole movement by the industry to kind of change the way we talk about it.

Jill:

Like back in the way back machine?

Jacy:

Way Back.

Jill:

Interesting. That's fascinating. So it's a choice that people make agree completely and there's a ripple effect with choices that people make. How do you share what that is? Because audiences are listening in as you said, people will say, "What happened to you? What's wrong with you? Why are you like that?" That's just this immediate thing, but there's so much more as we're starting to hear from both of your stories together, talk about how do you share this ripple effect, and what that means?

Jacy:

The fact that we're up there together, that Steve is such a big part of this ripple and his entire family and people I had never even met up to that point who are so deeply impacted, but talking about it, I show a photo of my family together. And then think of all the people connected, think of all the people who care about you who might be impacted if something happens to you. And from my brother planning funerals or my mom being the beloved eighth grade English teacher next day is Monday. Mrs. Good has 314 year olds coming to the middle school. That face isn't there. And how many hundreds of her students and her fellow teachers who are her best friends have to go on and get through the rest of that school year. And how many lives are impacted by a tragedy like this?

Steve:

It goes back to our very first presentation. We were trying to figure out... We were asked to speak at my high school and we agreed even though we were kind of terrified of it. And I guess we approached it as a college, like a assignment because that's all I knew. So we were like, "What's our thesis? What's our real big idea?" And we thought of the ripple effect and we made a note card of all the people. We listed names and then there's husbands and wives of those people. And then there's children. And then there was all the coworkers. And we were holding this list that we believed had over 1000 names. We didn't have names because there's all these students of her mom, et cetera. But, we figured it's at least 1000 people impacted by this one crash on one day, but that's just one crash and there's all these crashes every single day.

So in the presentation, it's tough to use numbers on this issue because we know it's under reported. We don't have the real numbers of deaths for cell phone use. So we use a middlish number, which is 15 deaths a day. We know the injuries are around 1100 people a day. And we talk about that a little bit, but then we like to bring it back around at the end of the presentation to... But that person has a loved one, and we have these faces on the screen, we know some of these people. That girl's dad told her a million times that we don't text and drive, but she was texting and she went over the double yellow line and she got killed.

And now there's a father who has to live forever, thinking maybe I could have done more. And we started thinking about that and so it's not 15 deaths and 1100 injuries. It's 15 deaths, 1100 injuries and everybody who cares about those people. So if people don't change the way they drive, at some point we're all going to be impacted by something like this because of that ripple effect.

Jill:

In your case, ripple effect can even be so much as AmeriCorp and what you're going to do with Habitat for Humanity didn't get to experience your gift and the job that you had agreed to do same thing. It spread so far.

Jacy:

And so my call to action is always, instead of starting one of these ripples of pain being involved in that somehow. What if you did the opposite? What if when you sat down in the car and you're like, "All right, I'm going to be nice today. I'm going to let people merge. I'm going to go the speed limit. I'm going to put my seatbelt on. I'm going to do all these things that we all know we should do." But-

Jill:

Different ripple?

Jacy:

Yeah. And I gotta say we spoken over 1000 different places. We hear stories every single place we go because people are being impacted.

Jill:

So you said 1000 of places you spoken all over the world?

Jacy:

Three countries.

Jill:

Just three countries. [crosstalk 00:24:41].

Steve:

I think our 40th, 40th state will be next month with our first Vermont speech.

Jacy:

Coming up on Vermont for state number 40.

Steve:

And then some Canada events and some European stuff just within the Netherlands.

Jill:

So you talked about that first speaking event at your high school and you approached it like you had your thesis statement and this is an assignment we're going to go through. How did what you do together as a couple presentation wise, how did that evolve for you? Did you figure out and practice something? Did you hone it? What was that piece like for you?

Jacy:

I think it changes every single time we do-

Jill:

Really?

Jacy:

.... just based on who the audience is. After that first speech we went, we got trained by the National Safety Council. We've done a whole lot of webinars and learned everything we can learn about this issue so that-

Jill:

Sure.

Jacy:

.... our data is always as up to date as it can possibly be. Speaking to a room full, all girls high school is a little different than speaking to a room full of truck drivers for the local grocery store and just figure out what to play on to get people's emotions really wrapped up in this to try and inspire a change.

Steve:

We knew we wanted to do it together. Well there was no choice really. She, not just physically, but her brain took a long time to get back to the person she is now, which is essentially the person she was before. But it took a really long time, short-term memory especially was bad back then. So we knew she couldn't do this all on her own. So we broke it up and back in the day, those early couple of years, I did a higher percentage of the speaking than she did, even though she's sort of the quote unquote star the show. And then as she kind of came back and got more somewhat confidence, she was always confident. Just got better.

Jacy:

Got my voice back.

Steve:

Then we shifted some of what I was talking about back to her and I'd say now the split is maybe 60, 40, something like that in her favor. As she said we're always tweaking. We're always trying to be better...

Jill:

Adding new research as new research comes out.

Steve:

Yeah. And we now incorporate... Jacy was in an AT&T PSA that came out [inaudible 00:27:06] now three Augusts ago [inaudible 00:27:07] three years ago.

Jacy:

2016.

Steve:

And that went viral, that had over 300 million views on social media. So we didn't use it for the first 12 months plus probably, but now that, that's in every presentation and we got immediate great feedback and regretted not having used it for the 12 months that we didn't use it. But, whenever we find something that works, you stick with it. Even it's just stupid jokes, we're always trying to keep it as light as we can because it's a very heavy subject.

Jill:

So, I was wondering, to tell... So you're studying statistics, but you're telling such an personal personal story, how do you keep your energy? What do you do to get yourself ready to do that, to tell that personal story. How do you recover afterward? What's that like for you both to do?

Jacy:

For me it's always emotionally draining. It's difficult to tell. I guess I've gotten better. It's kind of compartmentalizing that you can say this is a story and on one part of your brain, you know it's about you. But on the other part, you're teaching a lesson. And you can focus on that, that you're teaching a lesson. For me, the inspiration comes from the people that I get to talk to afterwards. Who say, "This changed me, I shared this with my wife, with my daughter." And maybe the other part is that summers are really quiet for us, that we mostly speak in high schools at this point. And so over the summer, and it's time in nature, it's being on a lake in New Hampshire and stopped checking the news feeds. And don't read all the articles about cell phones because you just got to be able to turn it off sometimes to-

Jill:

Ground yourself and recharge.

Jacy:

[crosstalk 00:28:57] and a lot of caffeine also.

Steve:

There are days when it hits harder. We find ourselves speaking on the anniversary of the crash a lot of the time because the crash was May 18th, then a lot of high schools want us before graduation and before prom. So we're speaking a lot on that day, her parents' birthdays. Just things like that where I'm looking at the photo on a PowerPoint and I'm like, "Wow, that's Jacy's car." Like Jacy was in that car. She came out of that car. And then it hits a little harder. But we have done it over a 1000 times and so there is a natural numbing I guess to it. The focus on we can accomplish something important right now if we give this speech well, it's maybe the real key.

Jill:

So what's it like being colleagues` and life partners, and how does that work for you? It sounds like you probably spend a lot of time in lots of modes of transportation, small corridors, hotel rooms. How's that work for your relationship?

Jacy:

We're lucky we got along.

Jill:

You still like each other?

Steve:

Yeah.

Jacy:

In the early days it was hard and would find like, "Oh, we're bickering a lot. Oh, we need a little time apart." And so-

Jill:

How do you make space for that in your...?

Steve:

You know what we do? [crosstalk 00:30:25] we get two beds in almost every hotel room we travel for. we sleep together at home like a normal married couple, whatever.

Jacy:

Is it normal do married couples sleep together I know they do but like so many [crosstalk 00:30:36].

Steve:

Apparently there's a high percentage that don't.

Jill:

Right. Because there's the whole snoring thing.

Steve:

I know my dad was on the couch my entire life because of his horrible snoring. We started getting separate beds, which just, it's nice. You just feel like even in a hotel room-

Jill:

Give you space.

Steve:

.... that has not a suite. You just have a room. You just have your own little space, and we are traveling a lot-

Jacy:

But we make sure-

Steve:

.... she puts up with my podcasts in the car.

Jacy:

We make sure when we're traveling for work, it's almost never only work, so you get a little bit of fun when you're in the same vehicle and you can walk down the Balboa Park and have fun together and not just be work colleagues crushing it at work.

Steve:

I think we try to think of every trip as a potential mini-vacation. And we're here in San Diego now and we've had some fun and we will have a little bit left before we leave tomorrow. Our next flight trip at least is later this month. We're going to be speaking in Knoxville, Tennessee, but her friend lives in Nashville and so we're going to spend three extra nights with her friends-

Jill:

Nice.

Steve:

.... just a mini-vacation there.

Jill:

And taking some music.

Steve:

Yeah, we do that stuff. Literally every time we possibly can.

Jill:

With purpose. I do that when I travel as well. I'm like, "I'm not just going to go back and forth from the work to the hotel to have a meal and back to the hotel again." I'm in a place regardless of where it is, there's got to be something I have not seen before, something to experience, something to fill you up or a place to recharge.

Steve:

This girl is good at trip advisor and things like that. She finds the best parks you've never heard of and cool stuff to do. I'm always a little unwilling to do it and I say yes because I have to because...

Jill:

And then you're happy you did?

Steve:

And then I'm always happy I did.

Jill:

So you're the itinerary planner as well Jacy and the fun finder. So Balance wise, introvert, extrovert. Are you both the same or one or the other?

Jacy:

I never know how to answer this question. What am I?

Steve:

I think we're both introverts.

Jacy:

Socially I am, I guess.

Steve:

Which makes an event like this where we're trying to schmooze with people, we just suck at it to be honest. It's not natural to make small talk.

Jacy:

When I sit down while I'm alone with someone I'm fine, but when you're in a booth and trying to reach out to strangers, that's a scary part.

Jill:

My life partner is an introvert and he is also has a very public job in pastoral work. And so I'm like, "How do you get in front of these groups to do..." He's like, "Introverts are actually really good at this because we have a job. We have a purpose."

Steve:

Maybe that's us.

Jill:

Yeah, and he says the same thing. You bring me to a cocktail party and he's like, "Don't leave me alone." I'm like, "What?"

Steve:

That's exactly us.

Jill:

You get in front of audiences all the time and he goes, "Yeah, but that's my job. I know my job, I know my role, make small talk and he [inaudible 00:33:31] comes unglued." Makes him nervous, so [crosstalk 00:33:35].

Steve:

Cocktail party I'm like, "Jacy, pretend to have small talk with me so I don't feel so awkward."

Jill:

You're both introverts. So it's important that you find that way to recharge yourself. You really need to do it to be quiet in your minds, and with your bodies to be able to recharge to do it again and again.

Steve:

I couldn't imagine when I step back to think about it, we would've had quote unquote normal jobs and whatever that meant and a normal life and maybe we'd have kids by now and we don't know if we want to do that at all at this point. We're just not sure. She said it yesterday after we gave our speech here, I'm just so happy we have this life, it's horrible that we have to do this, that we have this story to tell. But the fact that we get to do this with the person we love the most in the world and get to travel and meet new people and eat good food and have a great work life balance. If I could trade it, I would trade it but the fact that I can't, I couldn't be happier with the situation that we have.

Jill:

What's next for you guys? I mean 1000 in. The idea of specific goals or you talked about laws and changing and you speak mostly in high schools. Are there different audiences, or are you letting life unfold as it unfolds?

Jacy:

I know that life unfold for me, this problem has seemingly continue to get worse. Our phones are getting smarter and they can do more things than ever and we keep doing all of those things while we're driving a car. I want to see there is a big movement, Vision Zero Movement. I want there to be no more deaths because of these choices. It's a big dream, but I like to think in my lifetime maybe I'll get to see it. But other than that, let it unfold.

Steve:

Life [inaudible 00:35:40] I mean business wise, next month, Vermont State 40 means we got 10 left. I love trying to hit those stupid little landmarks of a milestones.

Jill:

I have the same thing with this podcast by the way. I want all 50 states represented and the territories and I'm not there yet. And so you represent which states, so I can put this on my map.

Steve:

I'm sure you've done New York before.

Jill:

Yes. Documentary film maker. So now I have three guests from New York.

Steve:

We will definitely want to do more international work. We had such great experiences. I think we've done maybe 10 high schools in a conference in Canada and a couple of corporate things in the Netherlands. And all went fantastically and I think there's so much more opportunity for us out there. And then I want people to stop dying.

Jill:

Yes.

Steve:

I want to stop having people like her parents die, people like her injured, and people like me affected.

Jacy:

Yes.

Steve:

And it's so frustrating when I think of how much of it is preventable and how much pain there is in the world.

Jill:

How many of us know people? I mean this isn't like, "Oh gee, I've never talked to somebody this has happened to before." I think it's getting to such an epidemic that we all not... We don't have to think too hard to think about someone we know. Right now in my little community where I live I know parents who lost their son to the same thing and just were influential in changing the law in my home state of Minnesota. And so I think we all know someone. And so what's the holdup with taking an action? The ripple effect is impacting all of us.

Jacy:

Exactly.

Jill:

So we're here at NSC. And you spoke yesterday?

Jacy:

Yes.

Jill:

So how was your message received?

Steve:

We were happy. Any event where you don't know how many people are going to show up that's sort of the biggest thing. We know what we're doing, we're giving the speech a million times, so it's not like we're nervous for the speech, we're always just nervous to see how many people show up. But, we have well over 100 people.

Jacy:

And being the National Safety Council you have a pretty good idea. You're going to get people who you're preaching to the choir. These people know a lot of what you're going to say. But that means you got to push that much harder. And this morning we met a man who's 65 years old, he [inaudible 00:38:16] 32 years of going to driver's safety presentations. We were the first ones to make him cry.

Jill:

Wow.

Jacy:

Which is not what I'm going for. Or maybe it is.

Steve:

Maybe it is.

Jacy:

I don't know, but he was just saying how impactful it was for him more so than anything else he's seen. And how such a big inspiration for us, that all right, we've got something special and we've got to keep sharing and keep working on this.

Steve:

So many fathers came up to us. Both yesterday after the speech and this morning at the booth just to say, "I can't wait to share this with my daughter or my granddaughter even." And that's just, I don't know. It's a huge compliment and makes... Not every day for us is great. There are days where we're giving 10 speeches in a week and we're exhausted. But then you hear a message like that and it really recharges your batteries.

Jill:

So what's the most common question that you get from an audience and what's the most annoying question you get from an audience?

Steve:

Well, as she said, so we do... I think last year we did about 125 events. I would say 90 to 100 of those are high schools and then the rest is corporate and some other stuff that we do. So we're mostly getting high school questions, and they're fantastic. There's us just... A lot of them want to know more about our personal story. They want to know how I proposed fun things like that. What else you got?

Jacy:

I think the most common one is if I've ever met the young man who was on his phone. Get that one a lot, which I have not, he's never taken responsibility for having done anything wrong and he is dealing with his own personal ripple effect. I'm sure this impacts him. But unfortunately, I don't know anything more about what his life is today.

Steve:

Annoying questions.

Jacy:

Most of them.

Jill:

Annoying questions.

Steve:

Sometimes we just get like, "Hey, what's your favorite color?"

Jill:

Really?

Steve:

Or, you know what-

Jacy:

[crosstalk 00:40:13] middle school.

Steve:

.... got is the first picture of us in the presentation is from like 2004. It's like when we met basically shortly after we'd started dating, and I've got this beautiful head of hair-

Jacy:

Long beautiful hair.

Steve:

And so-

Jill:

Did he have the flaw going on?

Steve:

No. I had nice wavy whatever.

Jacy:

Long enough that he could touch it from-

Steve:

[crosstalk 00:40:36] no. Not in that photo at least. [crosstalk 00:40:38] anyway, so some kid would raised his hand and be like, "Hey, what happened to your hair?" And I'll be like, "Screw you kid, it's falling out. It's turning gray."

Jill:

Oh my gosh. [inaudible 00:40:49] that's funny. So annoying question, but other bizarre questions besides your hair, how did you propose? Favorite color?

Steve:

Everyone once in a while we got a question that we've never had the before. I wish I could remember the last one. One happened at a high school at the end of this school year. And we were like, "We've never gotten that question before." And I have no idea what it was. But that's always really exciting because we've now done, I don't know, 800 high schools, whatever it is over the years. So to get something new is so exciting.

Jacy:

A lot of times we'll get asked how tall we are. In part because I picked out my wedding dress [inaudible 00:41:32] yes to dress. And so we have a picture of that and there. And when you're trying your wedding dress and they have you stand up on a little platform. So it's a picture of me next to Randy and the consultants at this bridal shop-

Steve:

But you can't see the platforms.

Jacy:

You can't see the platform, and I'm two feet taller-

Jill:

So you look really tall.

Jacy:

.... and they're like, "How tall are you?"

Steve:

It's the way they ask, it's like, "How tall are you?" Is the way to phrase the question.

Jill:

That sounds like a fun part sort of.

Steve:

Because we get a lot of the same questions we've got. I mean they're kind of canned responses, but we've got some really solid jokes and nothing is more gratifying than making a room full of 17 year olds actually genuinely laugh at something. I feel like [crosstalk 00:42:10].

Jacy:

So, you're going to have kids someday?

Steve:

I still don't know if I want kids, but I enjoy making 17 years olds laugh, that's all I'm saying.

Jacy:

No, I'm trying to get you to make your joke.

Jill:

She's feeding you a line here.

Jacy:

Because my pelvis was shattered so I make sure the kids know, we had this plan, we were going to have kids and I don't know if physically my body will be able to do that. So, it's still kind of, the jury is out right now.

Steve:

And I'll say, we don't know if we want kids or not, but if we do, if it's a natural birth, great. If not, a surrogate adoption, garage sale, whatever. It's a guaranteed laugh every single time. And so we've done it every time we're asked. When I hear the start of that question, which is usually, do you have kids? Because we don't make it clear in the presentation. I get like a little excitement in the back of my brain. I'm like, "Yes, we get to answer this question now." That's a peak behind the curtain [crosstalk 00:43:05] of a Public Speaker.

Jill:

Have you had coaching by any public speaking coaches, or is this all been developed on your own?

Jacy:

It's all us.

Steve:

People will give us advice when they do see us speak, which we occasionally take.

Jill:

Do you take any of it? I mean everybody has that.

Steve:

I'm a little defensive at that to be honest.

Jacy:

Sometimes people are scared to be... To give a critique, they don't want to. But I always appreciate when someone will tell us what they think could make it better. Yeah.

Steve:

But otherwise we would just have honed it. Just repetition.

Jill:

Fabulous. So, parting words particularly for people who are listening to the podcast, we're followed by safety professionals from all over the United States. Do you have a call to action for safety professionals in a... These are people who are working with employees and of course people who are listening got to be thinking about their kids, like you're getting so much, but it's more than just about teenagers. So what calls to action do you have for safety professionals? What can we do as a profession to lay our hands on this?

Jacy:

I think to me, it's what we all already know. There's nothing on a phone more important than a human life. And we all know that we got to live that, we got to lead by example, we got to hold each other accountable to our actions, and speak up when something is wrong, and we know it's wrong.

Steve:

I think it's just about making it personal. States can have laws, countries can have laws, companies can have policies, but if people don't really feel the reason why that's in place, they don't want to follow it. We hear from a lot of fleet managers that we have this policy but our guys are Kind of, we're butting heads about it. But if you can get that room full of people to care to hear a story like Jacy's maybe shed a tear, whatever it is-

Jacy:

To think about their daughters.

Steve:

Get these people to feel as if this could have happened to them and their families, then you can make an impact, then you can actually change the way people drive. So, that's just what we focus on.

Jill:

The power of story?

Steve:

Yeah.

Jill:

Thank you both so much for doing this.

Steve:

It's our pleasure.

Jill:

Thank you for the work that you're doing in your life's work together [inaudible 00:45:34] appreciate it. And forgot to say, so if people want to follow you, learn more about these statistics, invite you to speak, where shall they find you?

Jacy:

Hangupanddrive.com is our website. I'm the only Jacy Good out there on social media. I'm pretty sure that's still true. So find me on social media and connect with me.

Steve:

She is easy to find. Steve Johnson, hard to find-

Jacy:

I mean there's-

Steve:

Lot of Steve Johnson is in the list.

Jacy:

.... another one somewhere at this conference.

Steve:

Yeah, that's right. I registered for the conference when you had to get your badge earlier and there was a second Steve Johnson. I was horrified.

Jacy:

An imposter.

Jill:

Another reason why it was necessary that you partnered with this woman for the name in addition to everything else.

Steve:

Yeah. I mean it's something unique.

Jill:

Jacy Good, Steve Johnson, thank you so much-

Jacy:

Thank you.

Jill:

.... I really appreciate it. Thank you all for spending your time listening today and more importantly, thank you for the work and contributions that you do making sure your workers, including your temporary workers, make it home safe every day. If you'd like to join the conversation about this episode or any of our previous episodes, follow our page and join the accidental safety pro community group on Facebook. If you aren't subscribed to the podcast and want to hear past or future episodes, you can subscribe in iTunes.

The apple podcast app or any podcast player that you'd like. You can also find all of our episodes at vividlearningsystems.com/podcast and we'd love it if you could leave us a rating and review us on iTunes. It helps share the story with more and more safety professionals, and you can share any episode with your friends. If you have a suggestion for a guest, including if it's you, you can please go ahead and contact me at socialatvividlearningsystems.com. Until next time, thanks for listening.