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High school students learn of deadly distractions

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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High school students and parents in the Williamsville Central School District listen to a powerful and tragic story about distracting driving, all caused by a cell phone. In this Focus on Education report  WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports on how a nationally known speaker visited Williamsville North, South and East High Schools. 

Students listened intently Monday inside the Williamsville East High School auditorium. It was one of four sessions held Monday featuring Jacy Good. The New York native has appeared on Oprah, in People Magazine and on NPR's Car Talk. 

Good shares of how her parents were killed in 2008 by a distracted young driver on a cell phone. Good was in the car with them. She has had a difficult recover that has left her without the use of left arm. 

Jacy stresses the importance to students to put away their phone when they step in a vehicle to drive.

"It's an addiction without question," said Good. "For all of us -- phones are incredible at this point they can do everything. We've got to figure out how to move that."

"It's an addiction without question," said Good. "For all of us -- phones are incredible at this point they can do everything. We've got to figure out how to move that."

Students heard Good's story during the school day.  Monday night Williamsville High School parents were asked to attend.          

"[With] drunk driving, we've gotten to a point that it's socially unacceptable, that we've really built this stigma around it and it took decades. I hope that with cell phones, because we are getting so many young people on board -- because we've got Facbeook and Twitter -- all the social media -- that they're going to spread this message and they're going to make it happen even faster -- is my goal," said Good.   

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Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Jacy Good speaks to Williamsville East High School students about her tragic story of distracted driving and shares of photo of her parents who died in a crash.

Williamsville East principal Scott Taylor says any awareness on distracted driving is an important message.    

"It's a great message. It's a great awareness and it hopefully has a great impact on our students and adults," said Taylor. 

Williamsville East students says they will work to share the message not to text and drive.  

Junior Sheila Gupta just got her license. "Make sure my dad doesn't check his emails in the car and if my friend texts while driving, I will make sure to tell them," said Gupta.

"I don't think people really know the consequences of their actions while they drive, so they need to spread the word and not do it," said Celina Spigznogel, Williamsville East senior. She said Good's speech was very powerful.  When Spigznogel drives she puts her phone away and out of reach.

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Williamsville East students lined up to meet Jacy Good.

"I put my phone in the pocket at the side and I just shut it off and drive," stated Spigznogel.

About 5,000 are killed each year in the U.S. from a texting and driving.  23 percent of car crashes are caused by the distraction of a cell phone.  To help address this national epidemic, Good encourages all drivers to go to her website, hangupanddrive.com and take a pledge not to text, email, or talk on your cell phone while drive -- remembering that you are endangering the lives of other motorists