The number of new cars fitted with autonomous safety technology has rapidly increased, according to a report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

According to the analysis from SMMT, 58.1% of new cars in the new car market last year were fitted with a collision warning system in contrast to just 6.9% five years ago.

Cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring have also become increasingly popular technologies.

Data from the SMMT shows that more than 1.5 million British motorists buy cars which feature self-activating safety systems every year, with more than half of new cars registered in 2015 being fitted with collision warning systems. Collision warning systems check the space ahead of a car with radars and cameras to warn motorists of upcoming obstacles with sound, minimising the risk of collision.

Autonomous emergency braking, a system which automatically applies the brakes to avoid impact should the driver fail to react, was fitted to 39% of all new cars registered last year. According to Brake, the road safety charity, this technology could reduce pedestrian casualties by 15% within three years if fitted in all new vehicles.

David Robinson, a serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Vehicle safety technology continues to rapidly advance and, as this data suggests, is becoming increasingly common place in the new car market.

“Vehicle safety technology could reduce the number of casualties on UK roads and that would be a very welcome outcome, but there is another side to the vehicle technology story that brings risk and needs to be watched.

“Many new cars also come equipped with entertainment and communications technology that can prove highly distracting to drivers. Given that human error is one of the biggest causes of road deaths and injuries, anything that tempts drivers to take their eyes off the road to take a call, send a text or set their satnav destination is unwelcome.”