Distracted driving is one of the most pressing issues facing drivers today, and finally appears to be receiving the attention it deserves from authorities, lawmakers and automakers alike.

While drivers should always keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, pedestrians are just as likely to fall under the spell of their handheld devices, making them unpredictable and putting extra pressure on drivers whenever foot traffic is nearby.

Ford’s new Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection technology, debuting in North America as an available option for the 2017 Ford Fusion, is here to help. It takes stock of your vehicle’s

Based on more than 800,000 kilometres of testing over a year’s worth of trials, which generated more than 240 terabytes of data, this amazing technology is a step in the right direction to mitigating the severity of, and possibly preventing injuries altogether.

Around the world, from Seoul to Germany and back, other advancements are being designed to keep pedestrians alert and aware of their surroundings, with some areas even having fines for ‘Petextrians’.

But rather than alert those on foot of potential dangers, Ford’s Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection processes information from a variety of sources in the vehicle to calculate and reduce the risk of, or in some cases prevent a collision.

A windshield-mounted camera, taught to classify different vehicle and pedestrian scenarios and designed to work at up to 80km/h, works alongside radar located near the bumper, picking up shape reflections and feeding data into a unique Ford algorithm.

While no computer or camera replaces an alert human driver, the system initially provides the driver with audio and visual cues (beeping and muting the audio system,) that there’s a potential collision risk. If the driver does not react, the vehicle can automatically apply the brakes to reduce the severity of, or in some cases even eliminate a crash.

It’s the early days of this exciting technology, which currently works in daylight and in clear weather conditions. But the possibilities are endless, with Ford continuing to test the Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection system to potentially operate in the future in other conditions, including at night, in low and harsh lighting, and when vehicles and cyclists move in different directions.