Distracted driving remains an important issue in passenger vehicle safety, and car manufacturers have been steadfast in the development of technologies that help drivers stay attentive to the road. The Subaru DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System (DMS) is one such technology designed to do exactly what its name suggests.

How Does Subaru DriverFocus Work?
Unlike the majority of driver monitoring systems which are based on evaluating changes in driving behavior, Subaru DriverFocus uses facial recognition technology that evaluates changes in the driver’s eye and head movements. The technology uses a camera integrated into a module at the top of the dashboard. While you’re on the road, DriverFocus actively monitors the driver for signs of distraction, drowsiness, and fatigue by reading biometrics such as eye and facial movements.
A driver taking their eyes off the road for more than three seconds will receive a visual and audible warning from the vehicle. If the warning goes ignored, the vehicle will begin to slow itself and even come to a full stop. If the driver continues to remain unresponsive, the system will call for help from emergency responders by using Subaru’s Starlink connected services technology.

DriverFocus Recognizes up to Five Drivers
In addition to monitoring a driver for distraction or a medical emergency, DriverFocus is integrated with a Subaru’s available driver memory settings. When one of five drivers with a completed profile in the system gets into the driver’s seat, DriverFocus identifies and recognizes the driver and automatically adjusts the seat position, side mirror angles, and climate settings to that person’s preferences.
To set it up, you’ll need to create individual profiles for each driver and have the system perform a full facial scan that requires the person to turn their head from shoulder to shoulder. Once registered as one of the Subaru’s five primary drivers, the camera will identify that person by measuring facial features, such as distances between the eyes, mouth, and nose.

Can I Turn off Subaru DriverFocus?
DriverFocus is available on various models across Subaru’s vehicle lineup, typically as part of a higher trim level’s standard equipment. The system does not record any video or images of real-time driving. With that said, if this technology represents too much Big Brother-style monitoring for you, don’t let its presence dissuade you from getting a top-of-the-line Subaru. You can deactivate DriverFocus with the touch of a button.

The Subaru DriverFocus system is designed to elevate overall passenger vehicle safety, especially when utilized alongside the automaker’s wide array of EyeSight driver-assist features. Subaru claims the DriverFocus system was the first of its kind when it introduced the technology in the redesigned 2019 Forester and it remains among only a few such systems across the automotive industry that uses facial recognition programming to monitor drivers.