For all of the tech advancements of the last decade, one safety feature that has stood out is sensors that alert drivers to possible pedestrians or obstacles. The primary intent of this technology was to protect pedestrians from being hit by drivers who failed to see them.

As the years bore on, it has become clear that it’s not enough to alert a driver to the presence of a possible person or object they might collide with. Even with the warnings, drivers still tend to engage in behaviors that can lead to a fatal crash. Moreover, studies have found that the sensors themselves fail in multiple different scenarios, including at night when fatal accidents are most likely. They also fail if they become obstructed by snow or dirt.

These warning systems can cause drivers to lower their guard and pay less attention under the assumption that the tech will do all the work. On the contrary, it’s critical that drivers only use these features as a supplement for paying close attention to the road and their surroundings, keeping watch for people, objects, and other vehicles in their path or periphery to the same degree that a motorist would who’s driving a car without the sensors.

Automatic intervention would be safer than sensors alone

Rather than simply alerting drivers to possible dangers, as mentioned above, there’s a growing analysis suggesting that vehicles should have a built-in automatic breaking feature that halts them in their tracks when a possible collision is detected.

Distracted driving is a real threat today. Beeping from a vehicle isn’t always enough to snap a distracted driver away from their phone screen or out of their daydream in time to brake before a collision happens.

Automatic braking would bring the vehicle to a halt the moment the sensors detect someone or something in the path, whether the car is moving forward or reversing. Currently, automatic braking for reverse detection exists in some vehicles. It sounds jarring for a car to brake without your intervention, but it may be the only way to prevent needless injuries or deaths from the growing levels of distraction drivers are bringing to the road.