The advances in vehicle safety technology throughout the last decade are changing the rules of the road for drivers. One area that is feeling significant impact is in traffic and speed enforcement detection, or more specifically, the modern radar detector. As a result, newer detectors often include a feature called BSM filtering. But what is BSM filtering? How does it work, and why is it important to radar detection?
Blind Spot Monitoring, or BSM, is a type of technology installed on many newer vehicles that can detect and monitor other vehicles around it, such those approaching from the side and rear. When a vehicle approaches, the BSM system alerts the driver of its presence, usually using an alarm or light installed on the side mirror. This is especially useful if a driver is attempting to change lanes or turn into a lane occupied by another vehicle that cannot be seen because it is in the driver's "blind spot", hence the term Blind Spot Monitor.
Some BSM systems consist of cameras, some use radar technology, and some use a combination of both. It is the radar system that is of particular importance, because those frequencies can be picked up by radar detectors and trigger false alerts.
Originally installed on higher priced and luxury vehicles, BSM systems are now becoming standard options on many makes and models across the auto industry. Not surprisingly, the prevalence of BSM equipped vehicles on the road can both confuse and frustrate drivers who use radar detectors with a constant bombardment of false alerts. Worse yet, the driver may think the detector is malfunctioning and, out of frustration, simply turn it off altogether, increasing the risk of missing a real alert and getting a ticket.
Fortunately, technology is also on the side of the detector equipped driver. Many newer radar detectors on the market today now include a BSM filter. Also referred to as a Field Disturbance Rejection (FDSR) Filter on Whistler radar detectors, the feature is specifically designed to filter out and eliminate false alerts generated by vehicles equipped with radar frequency emitters such as those used for blind spot monitoring systems.
While BSM filters are not uncommon, some radar detectors, particularly budget models, do not have this feature. If it's an older model, it probably doesn't have BSM filtering, either. If you are using such a device, you may want to consider an upgrade to a radar detector with BSM filtering.