There's no question about it; modern cars are incredibly safe, and there's new technology being released that has them becoming safer still. Since it was mandated that we all wear our seatbelts to the introduction of airbags, the number of people dying on our roadways has been going down and they're currently hovering at historic lows. There could be a new standard safety feature on the horizon that pushes those numbers even lower.
Regulators are currently looking to make automatic braking systems part of your standard equipment list in the future. A number of automakers offer the systems on a handful of their cars. The vehicle detects that you're not paying attention to the stopped or slowing traffic in front of you, and it takes action. This could be as simple as an alert to full-blown emergency stopping. It's that automatic emergency stopping that regulators would like to see installed in all cars on the road.
A group of automakers have decided to work with regulators in the goal of bringing the technology to their entire lineups as standard gear. BMW, the Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F], General Motors Company [NYSE:GM], Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo are all on board. These automakers are going to work alongside teams from NHTSA and the IIHS to push the tech into their cars.
By working with NHTSA and the IIHS, it doesn't require a mandate from the government to force the tech into the cars. Those mandates take time, and the regulators would rather see lives saved sooner than it takes for bureaucracy to unfold.