Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the national Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, Japanese luxury automaker Lexus released a new video to shatter people’s misconceptions regarding texting and driving.
“Lexus wants to bring awareness to safety behind the wheel by changing perceptions about texting and driving,” said Vinay Shahani, vice president of marketing at Lexus. “Even the most advanced safety systems on the road today can’t replace the undivided attention of the driver.”
In recent data obtained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019 alone. Also, texting (answering messages, tweets, etc.) is the most alarming distraction of all next to eating, answering phone calls, or fiddling with the satnav. Most worrying is the misconception that sending or receiving a text message while driving creates a ‘momentary distraction’ of only one or two seconds while behind the wheel.
With that in mind, most people believe that taking your eyes off the road for a second or two is not enough to cause an accident. However, the cold hard truth is it takes an average of 4.6-seconds to send or read a text message. And when you think about it, taking your eyes off the road for 4.6-seconds while driving at, say, 55mph is equal to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. Not good.
Demonstrating this fact is a specially-equipped Lexus NX crossover aptly called the NX 4.6. It may resemble an ordinary Lexus CUV at first glance, but it has an electrochromic windshield and front windows that turn the glass from transparent to opaque in less than a second, completely obscuring the driver’s field of vision.
Next, participants got behind the wheel and drove the NX 4.6 on a closed course. After a couple of twists and turns, the occupants had quite a shock as the glass turned opaque for 4.6-seconds. In the world of professional sports, a second means an eternity. But if you’re behind the wheel, a split-second means the difference between life and death. What more if you were distracted for an entire 4.6-seconds?
Remember, distracted driving kills. Keep this in mind the next time you reach for your smartphone while driving.