Family of victim celebrates Minnesota's new hands-free law, hopes for more safety

Minnesota’s new hands-free law, designed to keep driver’s eyes on the road, is now in full force.

The changes were launched just days before the 12th annual Raksha Vigil and 5K in Eden Prairie, which honors local lives lost to distracted driving.

Vijay Dixit and those standing next to him know firsthand the devastating impact distracted driving leaves on a family. His daughter's picture is one of the many on display at a 5K in her memory after a distracted driver took her life about 12 years ago.

This event is the first with Minnesota’s new law in effect, which the teen’s family says they pushed for.

"We feel, in Shreya’s name, that we can do something and this was part of my effort," Dixit said. "But, there are so many other families in this state that are hurting."

"The enforcement is one piece, but let’s remember the impact that distracted driving has on families," said Eden Prairie Police Chief Greg Weber.

Over the first week of the law, Minnesota State Patrol said troopers issued roughly 500 citations and warnings combined statewide.

“Unless it’s a life-threating emergency when you need to summon help, that’s the only exception, other than that you cannot have that phone in your hand,” said Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson.

The Dixit family said they tied their 5K Against Distracted Driving to a family and Indian tradition called Raksha Bandhan which celebrates the bond of protection between a brother and sister symbolized by bracelets, which serve as reminders as they call for safer roads to put distracted driving in Minnesota’s rear view.

"This particular law is the Raksha Bandhan for the entire state, for that matter, for the whole world, for all drivers."

For more information on the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation, you can click here.