Technology can do more than just aid us, it can help save us from ourselves. Subaru’s DriverFocus is an active safety feature that helps to prevent distracted driving. This means things like texting, excessive gabbing with passengers, and not paying attention to the road. To understand the value offered by DriverFocus, the folks at East Hills Subaru (Roslyn, NY) believe it’s important to have insight into the dangers of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is a term used to describe anything that keeps a driver’s attention from the road ahead. It’s a problem that’s existed ever since the earliest cars were operating in the late 1800s. With the advent of cell phones and in-car technology, today’s drivers now have lots of new  distractions to contend with. It comes as no surprise that several states prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones while behind the wheel.

Texting
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one of the riskiest behaviors is texting. The process of sending or reading a text can take your eyes off the road for a full 5 seconds. If you’re traveling at a speed of 60 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field.

Even though many of us know distracted driving is dangerous, there are times when our minds trick us into believing that certain activities will be “quick.” For example, changing radio stations can seem innocuous, but if the infotainment interface is tricky to use, those 5 seconds can add up quickly.

Tired Drivers
And then there’s the matter of driving when tired. When we’re driving while tired, we can easily get sleepy. We may be at a point when stopping for a break is a necessity, but we’ll keep driving, unable to recognize that we’re putting ourselves and others at risk.

DriverFocus
This is where Subaru’s DriverFocus comes in. It monitors the driver for both signs of distraction or fatigue. If the system determines that you are either of these, it issues a warning, and can even stop the vehicle if this warning is ignored.

It knows your face
Ready for this? With the help of facial recognition technology, DriverFocus can tell if you’re driving while tired or distracted. It uses facial recognition technology and it is capable of recognizing up to five drivers. Not only does it remember facial characteristics, it can remember each person’s pre-set seating and infotainment preferences.

DriverFocus alerts
Subaru’s DriverFocus will issue a warning if you look away from the road for more than 3 seconds. If the driver doesn’t refocus, it will bring the car to a halt. If the driver is completely unresponsive, Subaru’s Starlink system will seek the assistance of a live operator.

Other car manufacturers offer amenities that monitor driver distraction, but according to Subaru, its system is the only one that employs facial recognition. This cutting-edge technology is widely used in law enforcement, but it’s new to the automotive industry.

DriverFocus made its debut in the redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester. It’s standard on the Forester’s Touring trim level. DriverFocus is expected to become more widely available across Subaru’s model line.