Consumer Reports is set to announce its Top Picks for automobiles next month, but the site just released a fascinating tidbit: It’s going to start awarding points for driver monitoring systems, and so far, only Ford’s BlueCruise and General Motors’ Super Cruise even earn those points. Yikes.
If you’re not familiar with CR’s rankings, the site factors in a ton of different metrics — safety, reliability, technology, and more — to create an overall rankings list for vehicles. Cars can earn a total of 100 points for a perfect score, and for now, CR is adding two points to vehicles that come with active driving assistance packages that feature driver monitoring systems, or those that pay attention to drivers’ lines of sight to ensure they’re watching the road. Crucially, those systems must also alert the drivers when they lose attention.
In 2026, though, vehicles that don’t offer these systems will actually lose two points from CR’s overall score.
Here’s more from Consumer Reports:
CR defines an adequate driver monitoring system as one that will reliably detect driver inattentiveness and alert the driver to pay attention while vehicle automation is in use, says Kelly Funkhouser, manager for vehicle technology at CR. If the driver does not react to these alerts, the system should escalate warnings in an attempt to rouse the driver. “If the driver still doesn’t react, the system should ideally bring the vehicle to a stop as safely as possible,” she says.
Right now, Jake Fisher, the senior director of CR’s Auto Test Center, only ranks Super Cruise and BlueCruise as worth a damn because they “both have the right combination of helping drivers enjoy the convenience of automation while verifying that they’re keeping their eyes on the road.”
The big goal here is to actually encourage safer driving as vehicles grow more automated. Humans are simple creatures, though; as a task becomes automated, we stop paying attention. Think about something as simple as transitioning from a manual to an automatic transmission: When that process became automated, it enabled drivers to pay attention to things that weren’t shifting.
Other automakers — Tesla, BMW, Subaru, and Lexus — have either added or are adding similar systems, but so far, CR doesn’t even bother considering those systems worthy of points. Here’s why:
- BMW Traffic Jam Assist: Only works at speeds below 40 mph, can be turned off, can function with cameras covered
- Subaru EyeSight and DriverFocus: Can be totally shut off via menu, does not need to be functioning for use other driver assist systems
- Tesla Autopilot: Drivers can use Autopilot while the camera is covered, drivers could still take their hands off the wheel even when not paying attention, no warnings when eyes were on or off the road
Will Consumer Reports singlehandedly convince more automakers to include these advanced driver monitoring systems? Probably not — but it looks like the world is heading that way, anyway, so CR might as well start awarding these things points.