5 On Your Side

After-market safety vehicle systems work as advertised

Posted January 8, 2014

— New cars can tell you a lot, from crash-impact warnings to monitoring blind spots.

But car owners without the latest model of their vehicle are not out of luck, thanks to after-market safety systems.

The Mobileye560 claims to equip any vehicle with safety systems. The device is capable of detecting and classifying various objects on the road, including other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and lane markings. The Mobileye is a small camera mounted on the windshield that monitors the road ahead and sends alerts to a small screen or smartphone.

Consumer Reports determined that the system works well but is expensive – $850, plus installation. Testing the device using a life-sized dummy, Consumer Reports found that Mobileye sends an alert if the user’s vehicle is about to hit a pedestrian – but only if he or she is going slower than 31 mph.

"It's mounted in the front, so what it's seeing is what's in front of you, which is great, but it can't help you out with blind-spot monitoring or a backup camera," said Jim Travers, Consumer Reports’ associate auto editor.

Another after-market device, the $250 Goshers Blind Spot Detection System, alerts drivers if someone is approaching on either side.

The Goshers system is not easy to install – it took a Consumers Reports mechanic four hours.

"We found that both systems worked as advertised,” Travers said. “But these systems are no substitute for using your mirrors, paying attention and looking over your shoulder when you need to change lanes."


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  • Mon Account Jan 9, 2014

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    Shhh. Common sense means little to drivers around here :)

    I do think blind spot alarms would be great for older drivers or those with limited mobility but can otherwise drive. I have a friend who's dad would slowly drift over to change lanes and if he heard a honk, he knew to get back in his lane. Thankfully he's no longer on the road.

    But having to look at a screen to know something is in front of you is kind of bad. How about a loud beep and a flash?

  • busyb97 Jan 9, 2014

    Devices like this, seems to me, would give a false sense of security to the driver. Thinking a device is going to alert you in time to take corrective action might lead to the driver feeling that it is ok to look away or fiddle with something in the car (phone, radio, etc) vs actually taking responsibility and being a defensive and offensive driver. And if it is sending alerts to a smartphone, well duh!! You look at your phone or screen to see what it is....too late.

    Just take responsibility and drive.