2019 Subaru Forester, new Forester, EyeSight, EDR, black box
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New Subaru Forester EyeSight Could Be Used To Prove Accident Fault In Court

The all-new 2019 Subaru Forester gets standard EyeSight driver assist. It records everything including accidents and could be used as evidence in court.

Subaru is all about safety and it’s one of their core values along with the Boxer engine, and all-wheel-drive. The new fifth-generation Subaru Forester now comes standard with the brand’s EyeSight safety system that will feature a host of safety tech like Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure, and Sway Warning, and Pre-Collision Throttle Management. Subaru EyeSight features four main safety systems that are designed to prevent accidents from occurring

But if an accident does occur, the system’s video camera could be used in court. According to a report from Cars.com, EyeSight's cameras record footage of the road ahead on a 22-second loop. Dominick Infante, Subaru of America’s Director of Corporate Communications, told Cars that Subaru owners using EyeSight need to request to see the last 22 seconds of footage, but a court can also order access to the tape. "You can't unless you specifically request to see it or there's a lawsuit," Infante explained, adding later that "you have to give written permission or you have to be subpoenaed."

A report from GovTech, says Subaru isn’t alone, and recording and transmitting footage from a driving car is common practice using a “black box.” They are called “event data recorders” (EDR) and have been placed in vehicles since the 1990s initially tracking when airbags deployed. The new iterations can now record dozens of indicators including vehicle speed, if seat belts were worn, whether the brakes were applied and steering wheel position. The report says most event recorders capture about six seconds of data before a crash, but some newer models can retain up to six minutes.

EyeSight could be used in traffic accident investigations to reconstruct certain aspects of the crash. Subaru’s EyeSight cameras sit high on the windshield with an unobstructed view of the road. The windshield wipers even keep the video camera’s eyes free of debris if it’s snowing or raining allowing a clear picture of what happened ahead.

The recorded data still belongs to the owner of the vehicle, but as Infante says, investigators can obtain the data by consent from the vehicle owner, or from a warrant and can be used as evidence in court to prove fault. The new 2019 Subaru Forester and Ascent family hauler now come standard with EyeSight. The all-wheel-drive vehicles are now safer for customers, but the EyeSight technology could get you into a court battle.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA

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Subaru should take this facial recognition to the next step for security, so that the car will simply not start if it cannot recognize who you are. And also allow the owner to set up, via their Mysubaru app, who should be allowed to drive the vehicle, or simply disable the system
We decided to purchase a 2019 Subaru Crosstrek based upon its best in class rating by a nationally recognized nonprofit consumer organization. Now that we have driven our Crosstrek Limited just over 1,000 miles and we have grown to regret our decision. In short, the Crosstrek Limited is a good car mechanically, uncomfortable to ride in, and equipped with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology - a dangerous technology. So, if you still want a Crosstrek - avoid the top of the line Limited model. We chose a Crosstrek Limited because it has 18-inch wheels, an automatic climate control system, and leather-trimmed upholstery that are not available on the other Crosstrek models. The Crosstrek is great in the snow, has adequate acceleration, and handles tight curves well. However, I am six feet tall and weigh about 170 pounds and find the Crosstrek’s seats to be uncomfortably hard and leg room limited. It is fine for taking the kids to school or heading to the store for groceries but forget about it if you are going to be driving for over 45 minutes at a time. Then there is the Crosstrek Limited’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that includes a Pre-Collision Braking System and Adaptive Cruise Control. The Subaru manuals make it clear that, “EyeSight is a driver assist technology, which may not operate optimally under all driving conditions.” And goes on to state that, “The driver is always responsible for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle maintenance, weather and road conditions.” To emphasize the fact, Subaru has committed nearly 45% of the EyeSight’s 113-page manual to warnings and notices about the limitations and dangers associated with using the system. Unfortunately, the driver is left to figure out what conditions are less that optimal. And even under ideal conditions we have found the EyeSight system to be unpredictable and difficult to override manually resulting in dangerous driving conditions. Cases in point, on three occasions Eyesight’s Pre-Collision Braking Assist system detected obstacles along the curb - a tree, a garbage can, and a parked car - and assumed that they represented high risks for a collision and activated the automatic braking system –- all while driving at 35 miles per hour on a bright overcast day. In one instance, we were nearly rear-ended by the car behind whose driver had not anticipated that we would come to an abrupt and unnecessary stop on an open road to avoid hitting a treeom the side of the road. Then there is Adaptive Cruise Control combined with the Pre-Collision Braking - another unsafe feature. Nearly 40% of the text covering Adaptive Cruise Control in the EyeSight manual consists of warnings, cautions, and discussions of the limitations of the advanced cruise control system and for good reason. When activated, Adaptive Cruise Control functions as a smart cruise control and regulates vehicle speed in order to maintain a "safe following distance" from the vehicle ahead. In addition, it activates automatic braking “when needed” - when the following distance from the vehicle ahead becomes to small and/or the system sees break lights on the vehicle ahead. Unfortunately, when needed is when the technology thinks it is needed - not when the driver thinks they need to slow down or stop. The result is aggressive and unnecessary high-speed breaking for cars that change lanes and tap their breaks in front of you or gently apply their breaks to slow when entering a highway exit. And once the perceived danger is gone the system is slow to recover cruising speed. The result, abrupt and unnecessary slowing of the vehicle on the highway and the risk of a rear-end collisions. It has now happened to us on two occasions – once when a vehicle taped their breaks while changing lanes in front of us and once when a vehicle tapped its breaks to slow down while entering an exit off ramp. Fortunately, the vehicles behind us have been able to slow or swerve to avoid a collision. We have been unable to find a way to permanently disable EyeSight. By default, the Pre-Collision Breaking System turns on when you start the car and must be disabled manually once the engine is running. Adaptive Cruise Control is the default cruise control. However Conventional Cruise Control can replace Adaptive Cruise Control once Adaptive Cruise Control is activated by pressing and holding two separate buttons on the steering wheel for approximately two seconds or longer, a distraction from watching the road if the vehicle is moving when you want to engage the conventional cruise control. No, we are not happy with our 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Limited and recommend that others avoid purchasing the vehicle.