By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There are four weeks left in the 2018 Minnesota Legislative session. Families of people killed by distracted drivers are asking lawmakers to pass a hands-free bill before it’s too late. That way, others don’t have to live through the nightmares they have.

“We have already lost our loved ones. Nothing can being them back,” Vijay Dixit said.

Dixit’s daughter, Shreya, was killed more than a decade ago. She was a passenger in a car involved in a distracted driving crash. Since then, her father has been raising awareness on the dangers of distracted driving to help keep others safe.

“I don’t want to warn you, I don’t want to give you an ultimatum, we are doing it for you. We just don’t want anything to happen to you,” Dixit said.

Last year, 59 people died on Minnesota roads because drivers were distracted behind the wheel.

“All these people’s lives are gone,” Danielle Wishard-Tutor said.

Wishard-Tudor’s brother was killed by a distracted teenage driver in October.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says one in five crashes in the state are caused by people who aren’t focused on the road. Advocates says that can be stopped.

“When we make the choice to go on our phone while we’re driving, we also make the voice to jeopardize other people’s lives,” Wishard-Tutor said.

Studies have shown people will look away from the road for between four and 10 seconds.

“I am asking you in honor of my brother, and all these victims, and all the future ones please make the choice every day to put your phone down and just drive,” Wishard-Tutor said.

Victims’ families want lawmakers in St. Paul to pass a hands-free bill before the session is over.

“Take action, take action. And that is what is lacking in this particular session right now,” Dixit said.

The hands-free bill has bipartisan support, but it is being held up in committees at the State Capitol. Some opponents think the bill violates personal liberties.

Jeff Wagner


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