Eden Prairie News Article Announces Raksha Walk 2013

Building distraction-free communities, one driver at a time

By Vijay B. Dixit · Published in Eden Prairie News
Vijay B. Dixit, Shreya Dixit’s father, is chairman of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation.

vijay dixitThe Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation will host its annual signature event, the Raksha Walk for Distraction-free Driving, on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Purgatory Creek Recreation Area, 13001 Technology Drive in Eden Prairie. Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s Secretary of State, will be joined by his wife Nancy to lead the walk. The day of the walk will be proclaimed by the governor as Distraction-free Driving Day in the state of Minnesota. Just like last year, a parallel Raksha Walk will take place in Simsbury, Conn., on Oct. 19.

The foundation is named after Shreya, a resident of Eden Prairie who was lost to a distracted driver on Nov. 1, 2007, when the driver of the car in which Shreya was traveling as a passenger got distracted causing a crash that look Shreya’s life. In her short 19 years Shreya had demonstrated her love for volunteering. She continued to give after this world; Shreya was an organ donor. So it was not difficult for the Dixit family when they established a foundation to honor her memory. The foundation promotes and educates the community about distracted driving and how to combat it.

Only a few years ago, the word ‘distracted driving’ was termed a tongue twister. Now it is ubiquitous. One may attribute this problem to the driver behaviors that have failed to keep up with advances in technologies being installed in modern cars. We still seem to drive as the drivers of the ’70’s. The current texting and driving issue is a perfect example of the serious disconnect between technology and driver behavior.

In a pioneering manner, the foundation has embarked on the most ambitious project deploying the Massive Open Online Course (aMOOC™) learning technology to address this serious issue. aMOOC™ has the potential to serve as an effective driver behavior modification tool, reducing auto fatalities and injuries.

The foundation has teamed up with Synaptic Global Learning of Boston, Mass., to develop a distracted driving application based on their innovative Adaptive Massive Open Online Course aMOOC™) technology. The technology allows us to create content with five distinct cognitive learning strategies with a powerful intelligent feedback engine that renders content dynamically to match learner’s preferences. The self-paced and self-directed application offers a unique feature in its ability to assess the learning style of the user and then delivering targeted content with three Driver Behavior Modification modules. The modules are deployed on smart phones, tablets and web at no cost to the end-users. We expect the application will foster disciplined and responsible driving behaviors by educating new and young drivers about driver distraction and its deterrence.

The application will be released at the Raksha Walk on Oct. 12.

In addition to the release of the application at the Raksha Walk on Oct. 12, there are a number of other important items that will interest audiences of all ages. AT&T will bring distracted driving simulators for the attendees to test their driving behaviors. As always, Minnesotans for Safe Driving will display a crashed car with the history of the driver who crashed it.

On-site registration will start at 9 a.m. followed by a vigil and walk. This year we have added a 10K run to the events for those who love to run. You can also register online at www.shreyadixit.org. Additional information is available by calling (612) 759-3384.

Please join us to support this cause which is taking precious lives in an increasingly fast pace. As the foundation motto states, “Building Distraction-free Driving Communities, One Driver at a Time”. Please march with us towards that goal on Oct. 12, 2013, at the Raksha Walk.