Not a day goes by without a newspaper or TV story announcing a fatality and/or injury caused by distracted driving. It is heartbreaking to see innocent lives lost due to an action that is easily avoidable. I write this message because I am from a family grieving the loss of our 19 year old daughter Shreya who was fatally injured while riding as a passenger.
The driver got distracted causing a crash killing Shreya on the spot. Although that episode occurred over five years ago, the wound it left is as fresh as it was on November 1, 2007. Our healing has surely been hampered because of an unending stream of similar stories hitting us daily.
Many states have been passing strict texting/cell phone laws while behind the wheel. I want to expand the focus beyond testing and draw attention to the broader issue that underpins unsafe driving. Research has shown that a majority of crashes occur due to a driver action taken just 3 seconds before the impact. It is not an action but distraction attributable to a cell phone.
Driver distractions originate from both inside and outside of the car and cannot be managed by laws alone. We need a broader grass roots level community driven education and awareness campaign. That would entail starting as early as elementary school level, alerting kids of consequences of distracted driving by adults with whom they ride regularly. This message needs reinforcement as these kids graduate to middle, junior and high school levels. We must engage our future drivers while they are in their formative years by leveraging peer-to-peer networks. In fact, these kids may even keep tabs on the elder drivers who claim ownership to a driver license but are too distracted to drive with discipline.
Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation invites those who have lost loved ones to distracted driving to join in this crusade for building a distraction-free driver community, one driver at a time.
Vijay B. Dixit, Chairman
Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation
501(c)-3 Non-Profit Organization