Volvo to impose 112 mph speed limit on all cars
Volvo Cars announced that it will limit the top speed on all its cars to 112 mph (180 km/h) starting in 2020 to improve safety. The company says that speeding is one of three "gaps" its research has identified as safety concerns in its ambition to completely end serious injuries and fatalities in its cars.
“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive. "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.”
Apart from limiting top speeds, the company is also investigating how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in the future.
“We want to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver´s behavior, 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.”
According to Volvo, the problem with speeding is that above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. "That is why speed limits are in place in most western countries, yet speeding remains ubiquitous and one of the most common reasons for fatalities in traffic," the company said in a statement.
Traffic accident data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration shows that 25% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2017 were caused by speeding.
People simply do not recognize the danger involved in speed, said Jan Ivarsson, one of Volvo Cars’ leading safety experts.
“As humans, we all understand the dangers with snakes, spiders, and heights. With speeds, not so much,” said Ivarsson. “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 behavior and help people realize and understand that speeding is dangerous.”
Beyond speeding, two other problem areas constitute “gaps toward zero.” One area, according to the company's research, is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The other area is distraction. Drivers distracted by their mobile phones or otherwise not fully engaged in driving are another major cause of traffic fatalities.
Volvo Cars will present ideas to tackle the problem areas of intoxication and distraction at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 20.