Do you agree with the above title? I do. Distracted driving has been killing for a really long time, though under different names. Also, impact of that tragedy does not ever fade away, it remains permanently etched in the memories of those left behind.

To make my point I must tell you a story.

Something terrible happened many years ago to a young boy named Jeff. A group of kids started to drink, got into a car and drove away. But the drunk driver could not go far and crashed into a car with Jeff’s grandparents in it. Jeff lost his grandfather in that crash. His grief did not disappear. After all these years he still carries it with him. We might have called it drunk driving then, impaired driving now, but I call it distracted driving.

Today Jeff is the CEO of a nationally recognized company with its headquarters in Minnesota. He could not do anything when his grandfather was killed. Today, he can. Jeff instituted a distraction-free and hands-free policy in his company and is leading the way for others to follow.

That young boy’s name is Jeff Fetters, the CEO of Federated Insurance Co.

I personally know Jeff and feel honored to be able to tell his story today. Federated is a partner in Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation’s quest for building communities of distraction-free drivers. Many among us have participated in or know about the signature Eyes Up campaign by Federated. Federated also endorsed the hands-free bill right from the beginning, and now is behind the hands-free law going into effect on Aug. 1.

Thank you, Jeff. Thank you, Federated.

With just a few weeks until the hands-free law goes into effect, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has created a hands-free PSA for the community. Please visit dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/hands-free/Pages/campaign-creative.aspx to learn about the hands-free law.

I t is true that laws succeed with an intelligently designed execution plan by the government. However, we in the community have a critical role to play as well in ensuring that the law gets good traction. Let us work at the grassroots to educate each other.

This year, Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation is proud to dedicate the 12th Raksha Protection Vigil and 5K for Distraction-Free Driving to the new hands-free law. The Raksha event will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Purgatory Creek Recreation Area, 13001 Technology Drive, in Eden Prairie. You will be able to personally meet with Minnesota public safety and State Patrol leaders to get answers to your questions about the law.

To guarantee your Distraction-free for life athletic shirt, please register online at www.shreyadixit.org by July 27. Call 612-759-3384 or 612-293-5837 for information.

As always, the foundation will honor your lost loved ones. Please bring a framed photo for the memorial wall.

Please write to Vijay Dixit of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation at vijay@shreyadixit.org. His phone number is 612-759-3384.

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