EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Every day about nine people are killed by distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
One Eden Prairie family is educating people about that number amid a painful loss.
10 years ago, in 2007, Shreya Dixit was riding home from college when she was killed in crash, due to a distracted driver. She was 19 years old.
Her family created a foundation in her honor and continues to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving.
Last weekend, the 10th annual Raksha Walk in Eden Prairie in support of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation. People honored Shreya and were urged to put aside all distractions while driving. A few companies were recognized, such as Cargill, for enacting stricter cell phone usage rules for employees.
One speaker included former Northwest Airlines/Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson, who is now President of Amtrak. He knew Shreya and says he wants tougher laws for distracted drivers.
"You want to engage and change the way we approach driving in America because it's so tragic what happens to particularly young people," he said.
Leading up to the walk, students from Eden Prairie High School spent the week educating people about distracted driving. It has a group at school that focuses on distracted driving education. Students held balloons with the number nine on them. One we talked to says this peer-to-peer education is key to getting their message out.
"Just seeing that many of your peers many of the same age group are being killed because of something else someone is doing on the road or they are doing themselves on the road is astonishing," said Suvarna Nallamalli, a student.
The Dixit family says it's going to introduce 10 more years of initiatives to try to stop distracted driving deaths.They say raising awareness of the problem is only part of the solution.
"People understand or are starting to understand what distracted driving is, what it can do and what we as individuals can do about it," said Vijay Dixit, Shreya's father.
KARE 11 invites you to take the pledge to stop driving distracted. Text "eyesup" to 25543.