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Family Channels Grief Into Action Over Distracted Driving

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) – A Twin Cities family who suffered heartbreaking loss is trying to save other families from the same fate.

Shreya Dixit, 19, died five years ago.

Shreya was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and had come home to see her parents when her life was taken by a driver’s split second decision to reach for a napkin on the floor of the car.

The driver lost control and crashed into the car Shreya was riding in.

“When my sister passed away, we immediately wanted to do something to keep her legacy alive because she was such a passionate person in everything she did.” Nayha Dixit said.

Nayha and her parents channeled their grief and frustration into action.

The family held the fifth-annual Raksha walk at Purgatory Creek Park on Saturday in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Nayha says Raksha stands for Raksha Bandhan, an Indian festival with the meaning “a promise to protect” one another.

“That’s the most important thing — telling our story, and changing minds and people’s habits while they’re driving,” Nayha said.

This year, the family got help in driving their point home. A driving simulator from AT&T was set up, showing the danger of texting and driving.

“People will say, ‘I’m only looking at it (phone) for five seconds,’ Nayha said. “Well, if you’re travelling on a Minnesota roadway at 50 mph and you haven’t paid attention to the road, you’ve just travelled the length of a football field basically with your eyes closed.”

It’s a frightening risk the walkers promised to never take as everyone signed a pledge to drive distraction free. It’s a message Shreya’s family hopes others will take to heart.

“It’s really moving and powerful to see people passionate about getting people to understand how important it is to drive distraction free,” Nayha said.

Gov. Mark Dayton declared Aug. 4 Distraction-Free Driving Day in Minnesota in honor the Dixit family.

All of the money raised from the walk will go to help students with drivers-ed programs and scholarships.

For more on Shreya Dixit, click here.

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