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#59: Distracted driving during COVID-19

June 17, 2020 | 47 minutes 50 seconds

In this episode, podcast series host Jill James interviews husband and wife team Jacy Good and Steve Johnson. Jacy and Steve are normally out touring the country giving speeches to high schools and businesses about the dangers of distracted driving. Jacy and Steve were called to the profession after Jacy’s parents were tragically killed by a distracted driver. Come and listen to their perspective on the effects COVID-19 has had on distracted driving.

Links and Show Notes

Referenced statistics

Hang up and drive website

Transcript

Jill:

This is The Accidental Safety Pro brought to you by Vivid Learning Systems and the Health & Safety Institute. This is episode number 59. My name is Jill James, the Health & Safety Institute's chief safety officer. And today, I'm joined by Jacy Good and Steve Johnson. They are the founders of Hang Up and Drive. They're public speakers on the subject of phone-based distracted driving with over 1,000 corporate and school events under their belts in the 10 years they've been active. Back in 2008 when they were dating, Jacy was in a terrible car crash caused by another driver using his phone behind the wheel. Now, as a married couple, they travel the world, mixing their personal story with statistics and science about distracted driving to try to help companies and communities become safer. You might remember hearing their story from episode number 35, which were recorded live at the National Safety Council conference in 2019. Welcome back to the show, Jacy and Steve.

Jacy:

Thank you.

Steve:

Thank you so much for having us again.

Jill:

Yeah. Episode 35 to 59, wow, we've had some distance between us. And I'm just so grateful that you came back to the show because I have a feeling that people who know you both and know your story or have heard it in their workplace, or maybe their kids have heard it in their schools might be wondering, "Hmm, what's life like for people who usually have been on the road for all of these years telling their story." So I guess I'd like to hear where are you right now?

Steve:

Oh, boy.

Jacy:

At home, I think.

Steve:

At home for the first time. I guess we were on the road, on the road, normal stuff until our last event was on March 10th. And then we just watched slowly as everything went downhill, obviously for the country and as well for our work schedule. We've never been home for this long of a stretch.

Jacy:

You left one part out. We found out that everything was done when we were halfway to Pittsburgh. We drove four hours and then I actually answered the phone to learn that Pittsburgh was not going to be happening. Instead of driving four hours more to get to Pittsburgh, we'd be driving four hours exactly back home.

Steve:

Yeah, that's true. That was the start. And so here we are. And maybe to add insult to injury of losing what was going to be a very, very fun and busy spring schedule is that we live in Westchester County, New York, just outside of New York City. And we were that first hotspot was just a couple of towns away. And so we're in that area that's the slowest to reopen as well.

Jacy:

One of the last schools we spoke at a few weeks later was the very first school to close because the child, that was the very first person who was infected went to that school.

Jill:

Wow, wow. Talk about being at the tip of the spear.

Jacy:

Thankfully. Yeah, exactly. They had no infections and we were fine, but-

Steve:

It was the son of that New Rochelle lawyer that was the first super spreader went to this high school that we had just spoken at. It's just rough. And we're used to spending all of our time together, so that's not a big change because we live together and we work together.

Jill:

But you hadn't been at home together. You'd been living in hotels for the last 10 years traveling around the country together.

Steve:

And that's what we love doing. It's not just hard for us to not be out giving our presentations, which we love, love, love to do. But the job is fun because we're always somewhere new and we're always asking a local for a restaurant recommendation and we're spending that free eight hours we may have to go do some state park or something. I was just thinking about doing this podcast and some thoughts I had on it earlier today and I was like, "All of our friends have always envied what we do for a living."

We have a bunch of friends that certainly make a lot more money than us, but no one has had the work-life balance, the fun that we've had. And I wonder how they now feel as... Essentially, all of our good friends are still employed right now. And we literally have not made a penny since that last event on March 10th. And as the world opens up again, which is wonderful, there's no telling when we're going to have any consistent income. You can maybe speak to this, but some people will have approached us already about doing virtual presentations and-

Jill:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Jacy, interested to hear in case our audience isn't familiar with you, which of course they can be if they go back to episode 35, but do you maybe want to set the stage of what this life has been about in the 10 years that you've been traveling together, making an impact and having fun and how it came to the screeching halt?

Jacy:

Absolutely. Traveling all the way back to 2008, the day that Steve and I both graduated from college, my parents and I were driving home from that graduation ceremony. Steve and I had our lives together planned. It was all at the tip of our fingers with jobs and everything that we were so excited to start living before starting a life together. And as my parents and I were driving home, we were hit by a tractor-trailer, 18 wheeler. He had swerved to miss an 18-year-old young man who was talking on his cellphone. He came to a red light and stopped and then turned left through that red light because his brain just wasn't paying attention to the road.

Unfortunately, both of my parents were killed on impact at 58 years old. It's hard to understand how I survived. I had seven or eight broken bones, my pelvis, my leg, my wrists, my collarbone, and damaged liver, collapsed lungs, my carotid arteries were very badly injured. And I had traumatic brain injury, which doctors said gave me about a 10% chance of living through that first night. I went through all kinds of surgeries, all kinds of, again, just inexplicably things that somehow kept me alive and started to come out of a coma, startedto come back into consciousness. It was a full two months before I could even understand what had happened to me and my family and why I was in the hospital.

From there, I went through about a year and a half of... No, that's not true, three years of just full-time rehabilitation, trying to regain the ability to live independently. It was shortly after I got out of the hospital and learned what had caused this horrific crash that I started fighting for laws in Pennsylvania, where it happened, because in the end, no one was punished, even though my parents were dead. It wasn't illegal to use a phone in Pennsylvania. And so the district attorney determined there was nothing he could do to hold anyone accountable for doing something, even back then we knew was dangerous. And so my name started to get out there in 2010. I shared this story on Oprah's show. And since then, it's been traveling wherever we can to try and make a difference.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. And Steve was with you the entire time? And the two-

Jacy:

I didn't know that a lot of the time, but yes.

Jill:

Yeah. So been through college and through better or worse and a lot of worse and you've built this life together on the road trying to make an impact to, to decrease distracted driving crashes. And so tell us a little bit about who your audiences have been over the years.

Steve:

Well, for us, it started out just after Jace was on Oprah. We were asked to speak by my old high school. And I think maybe like a lot of people's instinct, it sounded absolutely terrifying as people who were uncomfortable with public speaking. But we said yes and it ended up feeling really positive even though absolutely it was terrifying and we were basically reading off of note cards. And then it just spread through word of mouth locally first and Jacy was getting more press and some of it was national. I'm trying to remember, we didn't even have a website for the first maybe two years or more, but people just kept finding us. And it was a lot of schools at first and then one company found us and they were very good to us having us at like, I don't even know, 10 or 11 of their sites over a couple of years. So that got us helping us dip our toes into the corporate arena. And we just started getting better at that through repetition and maybe some aging. When we started this, Jacy was 20-

Jacy:

23.

Steve:

Yeah, you were 23, I was 24. And it was very easy for high schoolers, especially to relate to us. We were relatively young people telling a love story. And then as we aged up a little bit and very conveniently my hair turned gray prematurely, I could be-

Jill:

Wonder why.

Steve:

Yeah, I could be more relatable to the corporate audiences. And then we got exposure at events like the National Safety Council stuff and started getting some accolades there. And then again, it's companies talking to companies and companies... I don't know. In January, this January, we did an event for a big energy oil and natural gas company in Omaha. And they loved us and they had already booked us at one of their subsidiaries for... I guess it would have been last week now. And they were booking us for a big conference event in September, which we just don't know. And that's how our business has grown, but it's also the stuff that we're losing now. It feels like a big loss of momentum, like we had finally turned a corner where we were getting the quality and quantity of corporate work that we've been kind of had as our goal for a long time now, and that rug was pulled from under us.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. And in the midst of it, you've developed a company name, Hang Up and Drive. And so you now have a web presence, so people can go in and learn about you and learn your story as well as... Correct?

Steve:

Hangupanddrive.com.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. And you actually have made some impact as well, Jacy, with legislative activity, too, correct?

Jacy:

Yeah. I started working really hard in Pennsylvania, trying to get a handheld ban in place. Unfortunately, that turned really partisan. Any vote that happened was right down the aisle, unfortunately. But again, everything I did kept getting my name out there. Pennsylvania finally passed texting and driving law. It took until I think I testified in 2009, that took another two years, 2011. They put that in place and it's not a good law. And you talk to police officers and they can't enforce it, but it's a step. I've helped a lot in New York, making New York's laws as strong as they are, which are still some of the best in the country. They were one of the first states to pass these laws and to praise governor Cuomo a little bit. He's worked really hard to make sure that we stay on top of this.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. So there's much work yet to be done.

Jacy:

Yeah, I think-

Steve:

Oh, that's an understatement, right?

Jill:

Right. So you're both chomping at the bit. I'm sure to get back in front of your audiences. And like you said, he started out today explaining essentially in the epicenter of the pandemic as it reached the United States at any rate. And Jacy, people have been asking if you can do some virtual speaking engagements. Is that something that you're talking about and trying to figure out what that might look like?

Jacy:

Yeah. We are absolutely trying to figure out how we can make that happen from watching webinars, talking about all the options of ways to do it and watching other people attempting to translate this to their own stories. So virtual manner and I just don't know. What are you trying to say, Steve?

Steve:

Well, we've just always felt like so much of the power of the story, part of our presentation, which is more than half of our presentation is just that ability to look us in the eyes as we tell it. Jacy literally challenges an audience to look me in the eye and tell me what's more important on your phone than my parents' lives, for example, is a line she works into most presentations. And we just don't know what's going to be lost. But I hate to say it, but we're getting to that point where we may not have an option, and we're going to have to figure out how to be absolutely as effective as possible because the issue is so important, but doing that virtually because luckily we're savers and we have some money in the bank that we can live off of for a while, but that's unsustainable.

Jacy:

And I think to just pitch in there, I've done so many different videos and that's what a lot of people would recognize me from just sharing this story. And specifically, the one challenging people to look me in the eyes and tell me what they're doing. And when we go and meet people and they meet me in person, they say, "I saw that video, I saw another video that's out there." In real life, it is so much better. It just does not even compare to have virtual versus real life.

Steve:

Yeah. We're probably told that in literally every event we go to.

Jill:

Yeah. And there's so many people like you who have speaking tours, doing advocacy work just like the two of you. In the safety arena, our listeners who are listening right now are thinking, "Oh, yeah, I can think of this person and this person and this person that speaks at so many conferences and who's impactful and who they choose to follow." And so you're not alone, but it's still a bummer. I have recently been listening to people saying that our virtual meetings that we're having using these various platforms that everyone's using right now to connect when you can look people in the eye that sometimes it's very intense for the listener or for the person who's communicating as well, because you can't necessarily look away, they're right there in front of your face. And so maybe you'll be able to have some of those connections, too. And I bet you will.

Steve:

Yeah, I hope so. That may be more true for corporate events. I wonder if it's true for the school events. I know this is more of a corporate geared podcast, but just thinking out loud. We get so much from our audience like when we're tweaking what we're saying based on-

Jill:

Body language, what you're hearing. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve:

We're getting back, especially with the high schools, we're trying to be funny while being serious. And if they're laughing at something, we may play it up again and just not having that in room feedback because it just makes it harder. It just is all it is. It's going to make it less fun. It's not about having fun, we don't do this to have fun. But it happens to be fun. And the thought of doing it and having it be less fun is just as disappointing.

Jill:

Yeah. I think everyone understands that when you say fun when you're a professional speaker and when we're trying to share something that's impactful, it becomes professional fun. And we know that we're making an impact and that's the part that makes it "fun", right?

Jacy:

Yes.

Steve:

Oh, and then all of the people coming up to us afterwards, it's all the handshakes and the thank yous and the hugs at high schools for Jacy.

Jacy:

All right. Now, it's just going to be elbow bumps from everyone, right?

Steve:

All right. Yeah, that's fine if we're in the room with people, but it doesn't happen virtually.

Jill:

Right. Well, you've both been at home now, hunkered down in New York and I'm happy to hear that it sounds like you've both been healthy. But it's also a time to do a little research as well. And I know that you're both very studied on statistics that you're always updating your presentations. And one of the things that I've been hearing a little bit about and I wanted to ask you more is I started to hear that auto crashes are actually going up during this pandemic, which seems like counterintuitive to what we would anticipate when so many of us are home and things our movement around the United States has just been changed when we look at traffic patterns, but the increase of accidents is going up. And I'm curious to hear from you, what have you learned? Is that true?

Jacy:

I follow the National Safety Council pretty closely, and there was a 14% jump in fatality rates per miles driven in the month of March.

Jill:

Wow.

Steve:

Right. I think Jacy literally has some of the stats we jotted down in front of her and I'm in a separate room. But I want to say it was like miles driven was down by a third or two thirds, but fatalities was only down by some disappointingly small number. And I'm curious to know what it's like elsewhere. I just mean from anecdotal stuff. We live in an apartment building and we have our windows open, it's nice out. And we just hear how fast people are driving. It's as if people are drag racing on what have usually been busy roads in our area and are now nearly empty roads, although they're finally starting to get busy again.

Jacy:

But it's every single day at every hour of the day you hear somebody's tires going. It sounds like drag racing. And I know people on the city's Facebook page complain about drag racers in their neighborhoods and it's hard to figure out.

Jill:

Yeah, what's going on there, what kind of opportunistic thing is happening. Jacy, that's an interesting statistic. What else did you find out? Steve said that you had some others.

Jacy:

Yeah. So one of the most interesting things to me that I found... or what were you going to say, Steve?

Steve:

There were some interesting statistics about what states were showing increases in crashes and deaths versus which ones were going down. I think it was like Hawaii was down a normal amount, like 38% in conjunction with fewer people. And maybe if you think about it it's... Well, you don't have tourists right now. You don't have a bunch of people from the mainland renting wranglers and not knowing where they're going and that kind of stuff. But then places like California, Illinois, the numbers were up.

Jacy:

Yeah, California, New York, Texas, they're all up.

Jill:

Yeah, [crosstalk 00:21:51]. Yeah, go ahead.

Steve:

The question is why, and it's a little too early. There's not as much hard data on why, but there were some stories with smart people making their best guesses. And a lot of it is stress, a lot of it is mental health. Right now, we are all certainly living in a time of higher stress and people are maybe just not thinking about the task of driving as much as they should as they're preoccupied with maybe it's making ends meet, or maybe it's a sick family member, or whatever it may be. And one of the other things I read was that people right now are so attuned to staying connected through their devices that distracted driving seems to be as a percentage of miles driven on the rise. The people who are on the road, even though it's fewer people, more of them as a percentage are on their phones.

And just, again, this is just my brain, the increase in delivery, the increase in Amazon drivers and FedEx and all these things. Yeah, Instacart, individual people driving through apps for Instacart or whatever it may be, who are more reliant on phones to figure out where they're going and maybe in more of a rush because of the pressure to deliver things quickly and make more money, just as people driving more recklessly.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, those are good observations and good wonderings. So who gathers the statistics on the crashes? What's the lag time? When will we learn what is related to distracted driving versus alcohol-related crash or some other reasons? Will we be able to get that data, do you think?

Jacy:

I think we will be. Usually, generally speaking, it takes about a year. Anything they have out right now are preliminary numbers. But then by next year, they'll be able to compare again, and say, compare what fell from where.

Jill:

Yeah. And who's the clearinghouse for that kind of data usually? Is it done by state departments of transportation or how does that work?

Jacy:

I can read you exactly what it says. "National safety council collects vitality data every month from all 50 states in DC and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics so that that's occurring within one year of the crash on both public and private roads are counted in those estimates."

Jill:

Okay, okay. So Jacy listed the states that had the most accidents right now. I don't even want to call it accident. Let's use the word crash, let's call it crash. Right. We don't want to say accident. Which state has the lowest, or what are some of the lowest?

Jacy:

First three months of 2020, following states experienced increases, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

Steve:

That's like every kind of state. You can't even draw a through line.

Jill:

Yeah. They're not a cluster. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jacy:

Notable decreases were Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, and South Carolina.

Jill:

Wow, interesting. Yeah. I can't wait to hear more about these statistics as we look at 2020 and learn what were those differences?

Steve:

One of the things that I've been thinking about specifically maybe in the last two or three weeks as we've gotten closer for schools graduation and as more just like conferences and things like that have been canceled is if there's going to be any ripple, quantifiable or not, of people not attending conferences where they may learn safety information or having the safety stand downs that we might speak at or schools... There were so many schools for us that have us every year in March, April, or May to speak to their seniors who are about to either go to prom or about to graduate.

And I know we're good at what we do when people tell us we're good at what we do and how many of those seniors are just going to pass through without learning a lot of the important lessons. And I'm sure they're having speakers on drug and alcohol use, and I'm sure they're having speakers on bullying maybe at younger grades. A lot of schools choose March, April, and May to bring in their speakers. And all these things are going to be missed and how may that impact, especially as we enter, what is it? The 100 days, Jacy, what do they call it?

Jacy:

Yeah, 100 deadliest days.

Jill:

Yeah, so what is that?

Jacy:

Memorial Day to Labor Day teenagers specifically die at much greater rates than any other time in the year because they're not in school, they're out in the road and unfortunately they don't have the experience. And that's another one of those ripples, that as people haven't really been driving for a month or two or three, you get rusty. And for even adults, you got to recharge up and remember how to be a good and safe driver. And for teenagers, they don't have as much background to fall back on. So getting back on the road and not having the experience under their belts is going to be very dangerous, especially-

Steve:

In conjunction with their home states, depending on where they are, getting more lax with the rules and suddenly maybe you're allowed to go see your friends and people are going to be excited, or they're going to want to go, drive to the beach together, all these things.

Jacy:

Or you can get your license without taking a driving test, which has been... I know it happened, I believe, in Georgia and now New Jersey was looking at doing it, which is-

Jill:

Yeah, I've heard that, too.

Jacy:

... insane for the most densely populated state to try and kids drive without being able to pass the test.

Steve:

And I think they're lowering the amount of required miles or hours on the road for some professional licensing as well. So it's like we're all trying to accommodate the world that the pandemic has created. But we can't forget that of course this has been a way worse deadlier situation than most other things that kill people every year. But we're still losing 40,000 people a year on the roads. And I would hate to think that that number is going to go up because we're being more lax with licensing and with education and things like that.

Jill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I think the ripple effect is definitely something to be paying attention to and to be working diligently in the world of safety, whether it's for our workforce, or whether it's in our home life, and whether it's with our teenagers to try to bend that curve and keep working on it. I know just in my personal life, you both mentioned the 100 most deadliest days. Last Friday, one of my son's classmates was in a crash that I couldn't believe she's walked away from the vehicle, didn't look like there was room to live in it and she walked away.

And then on that same day, there was another crash with a 16-year-old who's a son of a former co-worker of mine. And he passed away this morning. And so when you talk about those most deadliest days and you're wondering what's it like elsewhere, Steve, you had asked that question, and we're talking about interventions that have been abrupted because of the pandemic. And I don't know what caused those crashes. And I may not know what caused those crashes, but the reality is this continues to happen.

Jacy:

And I just read a statistic today from, I believe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association-

Jill:

Administration, right?

Jacy:

Administration, for teenage drivers, when a fatal crash happens, 53% of those drivers were distracted by something. So for young people, too often it's whatever that distraction was.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so your work is so important. Your work is so important and this message is so important to curb these crashes. And of course, you're focused on distracted driving as you well should be. And I hope that you're able to get back to spreading your message and finding new ways perhaps to continue spreading your message as well.

Jacy:

Something else to add in that I read an entire really long article about impulsivity. And it just started with we're stuck at home and the world feels out of control, like we can't do anything to make a difference. And something as simple as like there's a website that sells do-it-yourself tattoo kits, and they have never sold so many tattoo kits. People are really impulsive trying to take control of something. And unfortunately, that is also translating to our roads that people are driving really impulsively. And unfortunately, that means ignorantly too much of the time. More-

Steve:

It's... No, sorry, finish, babe.

Jacy:

More people are drinking while they're at home and maybe not necessarily working, like Steve already talked about, hearing drag racing, people going too fast because there are so few other cars on the road, or going back to cell phones, distracted driving every time we're out. And we've been out a lot since we're at home with nothing to do, trying to stay in shape and go for walks. And every single car someone is on the phone. And technology has been such a savior through all of this, it's been amazing. But we got to draw that line when we get in the car that weren't going to turn it off.

Steve:

Yeah. I was just going to say, we have been out a lot on foot, just going for walks. We just try to find the roads in our town that are less traveled and stay our distance from people. But in terms of driving, we're only in the car maybe once every 7 to 10 days. I guess we've been using our relative youth and health to do shopping for some of our older family members and their friends. So we've been doing that, maybe just something that helps fill our souls up a little bit because that's something we've been missing, not being able to do our work and making those deliveries. But the drivers are so aggressive. And we live in New York where the default is aggressive.

Jill:

Yeah, to see aggressive. Yeah, okay.

Steve:

Yeah. And I've never been tailgated as much. I've never seen so many people weaving as much doing that move where they're in the middle lane of our three-lane highway and then suddenly they're taking the exit like two lanes over. And we're only driving like an hour every 10 days, and we're seeing these things that we've never seen so frequently. And the thing is people don't equate these actions to the consequences, unless they've had an experience with it. When I see somebody drive like that, I think of May 18, 2008. My brain goes back to graduation day. And pain and crying and the ripples, the ripples going out now to all of Jacy's parents, co-workers and her mom was a teacher and all of her eighth grade students.

And it's like you're stupid weaving that maybe gets you where you're going like 10% sooner than you would otherwise if you were following the law. The consequences of that could be so far reaching and people just don't feel that way. And I don't blame them for not making that connection. If you've never been touched by a road traffic-related tragedy, I can understand your point of view, but that doesn't make it any less enraging for people like Jacy or I to see.

Jacy:

And to go back to those eighth grade students who I posted about May 18th, this year was 12 years. And I made one of her posts on social media. I got somewhere between 12 and 15 messages from former students of my mom talking about how much they love her, how much they still miss her, just how that's 12 years later, still I'm back doing these now, 20 something year olds.

Jill:

Yeah. And impacted their lives like you're talking about Steve.

Steve:

Yeah. So what percentage of those 40,000 people a year are people who had impacts like that on other people? And these 16-year-olds in your orbit who passed away today, there's just so much potential. You don't know what this person had in them to what good they may have put out in the world. You have given the opportunity to do so and these things are preventable.

Jill:

Right. And the impact he's already making with his life, with his friends right now, and his family members, and his community members, yeah. Jacy, you referenced impulsivity. And I think that's so interesting and true. People are feeling like they don't have control over things. And so finding ways, whether it's on the road or not. We listen to our guests, the Geller's the other week on the podcast talked about fear and that fear leads to frustration and frustration leads to violence. And Steve, you're talking about you're seeing people drag racing, or weaving in and out of cars, or tailgating. And that's edging on the edge of violence, we're seeing that. And it's impacting what we're seeing on the roads and with these increases of fatality rates right now, too.

Steve:

Yeah. It's like people are getting out every frustration they have behind the wheel.

Jill:

Behind the wheel, yeah, yeah. So you two have spent 10 years driving. You've been doing these speaking engagements for 10 years, you've been behind the wheel yourselves. What's it like when... not now, but in all of those years you've been driving, curious for you to share with the audience, is it scary for you to be driving, or what are the practices that you two have developed to stay safe when you're driving and all the miles that you put on across the country?

Steve:

I'm going to let Jacy answer this, But before she does, I just want to say that if you ever feel like you need to be a safer driver, just put Jacy good in your passenger seat and she will yell at you anytime she feels like you're doing something incorrect, whether you're married to her or not. I'm pretty sure.

Jill:

Excellent. Jacy, you do not lack courage.

Jacy:

No, without officially having been diagnosed, I can pretty safely say that I definitely suffer from some mild form of PTSD. I hate getting in the car. I think Steve's little sister wants to come and visit us. And she lives down in New York City, and she can be here on a train in no time. And yeah, she'd be facing a virus. But I would rather face a virus than face New York City drivers who are going over a hundred miles an hour on New York City streets. As Steve says, I just make sure whatever car I'm in is the safest car on the road, whether that's attention to the road, hands on the wheel, whatever it is. Going the speed limit, wearing our seatbelts, every single person in the car wearing their seatbelts, those things matter so much.

Steve:

Maybe I'm noticing everyone weaving around me because I'm actually going 55 in a 55 and that's just so out of the ordinary. Our car, which we've also had for 10 years, has 225,000 miles on it.

Jacy:

Oh, then we got one.

Steve:

No, it's 225. But of course, a lot of our events involve flying and not driving. So it's still a pretty good amount of miles on there. Wait, is it 255? Oh, it's 255.

Jacy:

I think it's 250. Yeah, no, that's 250.

Steve:

Yeah, you're right. It's 255. Yeah. I said the other day, "I think our car might be confused at what's going on, like as did mommy and daddy got a new child or something." I think we filled up the gas once. Yeah, we filled it one time since we stopped. And we still have like three quarters of a tank just doing a little bit of driving that we're doing in a fuel-efficient car. But we are those people going the speed limit. I've never taken a defensive driving course, but so much of what I'm guessing they teach in there seems pretty logical. I'll never stay next to somebody on the highway. If they're doing the same speed I'm doing, I'm usually going to drop back. I never let people stay in my blind spot or vice versa. We have an adapted car for Jacy. I guess, Jacy didn't mention that she can't use her left arm or hand or fingers at all. And she only has limited action in her left leg and knee and ankle and toes. So actually, I guess, Jacy, you can't really move your foot at all. Can you?

Jacy:

No, not really.

Steve:

Okay. So anyway, our car just has a couple of adaptations for Jacy.

Jacy:

So I can drive with just the one hand, thankfully.

Steve:

And for, I guess, 11 years you've been driving, let's say, since the crash, incident-free, even with some minor limitations. And I think we got rear-ended once when we were on the way to an event several years ago, which I guess they say a rear-ending is someone else's fault. But for putting on 255,000 miles on a car to be essentially incident-free, I think just proves that if people are paying attention and certainly we've never come close to touching a phone behind the wheel, and that includes a Bluetooth phone conversation, which a lot of people think is safe, but just all the evidence proves that it's not. Just doing those things, that focusing on the task of driving, we've been safe, not comfortable necessarily in a 10-year-old Honda Fit, that no longer really has much of a suspension or comfort in its seats.

Jacy:

We were supposed to get a new car this year and that did not come to be. And now, I keep reading that, it's this Honda Fit, is a tiny little car, and whatever a new report came out that you're most likely to die in a small car. And the next car we are going to get is going to be like a slightly bigger, little SUV that would keep us much safer according to this report. And now, I got to keep waiting to get out. But at least we're not in the car. I can feel safer that way.

Steve:

True.

Jill:

Yeah. You just mentioned about Bluetooth and talking on the phone while you're driving and that it's proven not to be a safe option as well. Jacy, do you want to fill in the blank on that one, talk about that?

Jacy:

Yeah. When you hear about distracted driving, it's the three or four big ones. It's hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, being able to hear. In most states, you're not allowed to wear headsets. You can't cover both your ears. You got to be able to hear what's going on, or the last one that cognitive distraction, which safety organizations call an impairment, like you are so badly distracted, then your brain just can't function well enough to drive a car.

Steve:

I think that default when you talk about distracted driving is people just think you're the kind of like interchangeably use texting and driving and distracted driving. People just assume it's that. And you'll hear that stat of, "Hey, if you're texting at 55 miles per hour, it takes your eyes off the road, like the length of a football field in, whatever it is, three seconds." And you just hear those stats a lot. You're 27 times more likely to crash if you're texting and driving. But you don't hear as much about talking on the phone and then you add the Bluetooth part of it and you just almost never hear about it.

And people like us, meaning us and speakers, in our arena and the safety organizations are all saying the same thing. So the message is getting out there. But when you're talking on the phone, you're about four times than when you're not. And the differences is the same if that phone conversation is on Bluetooth. You're only one half of 1% safer using Bluetooth versus holding the phone, because it's just about where your brain is at, not really what your hands are doing.

Jill:

Right, right. Like you mentioned before, Jacy, keeping your mind on the task.

Jacy:

Yes.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I am so happy that you joined us today, so happy that the audience gets to hear your voices again, especially anyone who's ever heard, Steve and Jacy speak before. Maybe your kids heard them in your school, maybe you've heard them in your workplace, maybe you've listened to them at a conference. And I hope for both of you that we find some sense of normalcy and you can get in front of an audience again, whether it be a virtual audience or whether it be an in-person audience. My wish for you is that you can continue to spread this impactful and so important message to get this story out so that you can be continuing to cause those ripple effects that you talked about. So thank you so much.

Jacy:

Thank you so much, Jill. I think for me, I feel like I can stay connected with my parents and maybe even help to keep those good parts of them alive when I get to share their story and their lives in this kind of manner. And I'm so grateful that you had us on and allowed me to feel just a little bit of that connection again today.

Steve:

Yeah. This has been a great therapy session.

Jill:

Oh, for me, too. Me, too. Thank you so much. And I'm so happy that your state is starting to see a bit of a downturn as well.

Steve:

Thank you.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. Thank you all for spending your time listening today. And more importantly, thank you for your contribution, 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're not subscribed and want to hear past or future episodes, you can subscribe on iTunes, the Apple Podcasts app, or any other podcast player that you'd like. You can also find all of the episodes at vividlearningsystems.com/podcasts.

We'd love it if you could leave a rating and review us on iTunes, it helps us connect the show with more and more safety professionals like you and I. If you have a suggestion for a guest, including if it's yourself, you can contact me at social@vividlearningsystems.com. And if you want to continue following Jacy and Steve, you can find them at hangupanddrive.com as well. Special thanks to Will Moss, our podcast producer. And until next time, thanks for listening.