To highlight the dangers of speeding, Volvo Cars is limiting the top speed on all its cars to 180 kph from 2020.
The company’s vision for 2020 aims to ensure no driver is injured or killed in the new Volvo.
“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been, and we always will be,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Because of our research, we know where the problem areas are when it comes to ending serious injuries and fatalities in our cars. And while a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.”
The company is conducting further research on how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in the future.
When a car reaches a certain speed, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure designs are no longer able to keep the driver completely safe. Despite having speed limits on streets, speeding is still one of the most common reasons for fatalities in accidents. Traffic accident data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration confirms this as 25% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2017 were caused by speeding.
“As humans, we all understand the dangers with snakes, spiders, and heights. With speeds, not so much,” said Jan Ivarsson, one of Volvo Cars’ leading safety experts. “People often drive too fast in a given traffic situation and have poor speed adaption in relation to that traffic situation and their own capabilities as a driver. We need to support better behaviour and help people realize and understand that speeding is dangerous.”
However, Volvo understands the technology alone cannot accomplish this. Instead, the company’s research indicates that there are two other factors, apart from speeding, that need to be taken into consideration to accomplish such an ambitious goal. The first is intoxication with people driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs despite it being illegal. The second is distracted driving.
“We want to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that change their driver’s behaviour, to tackle things like speeding, intoxication or distraction,” said Samuelsson. “We don’t have a firm answer to this question but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”
Volvo Cars will present ideas to tackle the problems of intoxication and distraction at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 20.