The Hands-Free Law

Lilia Rosen, Staff Writer

An increase in car accidents due to distracted driving has helped to pass a new hands-free law in order to eliminate the use of cell phones while driving. Under the hands free law, drivers can legally send messages while driving only if their device is hands free. 

State Police Lieutenant Gordon Shank said, “It’s a no brainer, of the states that do have this law, 12 out of the 15 have had a decrease in fatalities.” 

Head of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation Vijay Dixit said his daughter, Shreya, died by a distracted driver. The accident has completely changed his perspective on the issue of distracted driving. 

Dixit said, “The driver was reaching out for something. What she was reaching for, we’d never know, and in the process crashed the car. My daughter Shreya, who was in the passenger seat, was sandwiched between a cement block and the weight of the car.”

Wayzata Student Resources Officer Ion Goldenman said, “We can be distracted by a lot of other things other than just a cellphone, even just friends in the car or eating. It’s really amazing what we can be distracted by.”

Today in society, others are constantly reminded about the dangers of distracted driving, but one never expects to be the next victim. Dixit said, “At that time, of course, it was a total shock. You don’t prepare for these things.”

Dixit and his wife decided to start the Shreya Dixit Foundation to educate teenagers on the effects of distracted driving. Dixit, when asked about the importance of educating the community on this issue, said, “That is actually my passion and is what is making me, I use a very strong expression, live. Otherwise, after losing Shreya, there is nothing left in our lives.”

Dixit said, “I would say this is the initial stage but we can’t say that now we have a hands-free bill, turned into law, we are now safe. Hands free is not distraction free.”

Considering kids under the age of 18, Goldenman said, “ The new law doesn’t change things if you’re still under 18, you still can’t make phone calls whether it’s hands-free or not.”

Not everyone abides to this new law. In response to those people, Dixit said, “Yes, it’s your personal liberty to have a cell phone and text, but you do not have the liberty to kill someone. I have the liberty to live. The road does not belong to you, it is a shared space.”

“Don’t think that just because you are a good driver you won’t be impacted. Remember, it does not take too much to kill.”