Gahanna city leaders hope to lead by example in making roadways safer with an initiative to reduce distracted driving.

Gahanna city leaders hope to lead by example in making roadways safer with an initiative to reduce distracted driving.

Gahanna has partnered with Impact Teen Drivers after learning about its collaboration with Brock and Sara Dietrich, who lost their daughter, Sydnee Williams, a Gahanna student who was killed in 2013 after she lost control of her car while texting and driving.

Impact Teen Drivers is a nonprofit committed to ending reckless and distracted driving through educational programs.

"The city is excited to partner with the Remember Sydnee campaign and Impact Teen Drivers," said Abby Cochran, Gahanna interim human-resources director. "Our goal is to lead by example in providing training to our employees and to raise awareness to the community, with the ultimate goal of providing safer roadways in our city for everyone."

"It will take all of us -- educators, law enforcement, parents and communities -- to change the driving culture to one that is distraction-free," said Heidi Deane, Ohio education and outreach coordinator for Impact Teen Drivers.

The city held Jan. 13 workshops to focus on helping employees improve safe driving habits.

Dietrich shared Sydnee's story with city employees in hopes that others might learn from the tragedy his family experienced when they lost their daughter to a preventable car crash.

"I'm thrilled that the safety committee has taken the initiate to make the city of Gahanna a safer place for all citizens," Dietrich said. "For the past two years, I've been privileged to work with Impact Teen Drivers to deliver their evidence-based curriculum, using the lessons from Sydnee's crash to educate nearly 10,000 teens about the dangers of reckless and distracted driving.

"But we've all seen firsthand that distracted driving isn't just a teen issue, so I'm excited to bring Impact Teen Drivers' parent education model to city employees. I look forward to future opportunities to work with the city to take the safe-driving message throughout the community, making Gahanna a safer place and saving lives in the process."

For more information, visit RememberSydnee.com.