Volvo wants us all to slow down. It’s not just a suggestion either. The automaker says going to limit the top speed in all of its vehicles to 112mph starting with the 2021 model year.
It’s part of Volvo’s Visions 2020 plan. By 2020, Volvo doesn’t want anyone to be killed or seriously injured in in vehicles and the brand says speeding is a prominent issue. The latest move to reduce the top speed is part of efforts to change driver behavior in addition to Volvo’s focus on safety and driver assist technology. In that regard, Volvo is also looking at how a combination of smart speed control and geo-fencing 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 Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive, Volvo Car Group. “We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”
Volvo says the issue 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.
Volvo cites traffic accident data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration
shows that 25 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2017 were caused by speeding.
People simply do not recognize the danger involved in speed, says 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 Mr 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 behaviour and help people realise and understand that speeding is dangerous.”
Volvo says drunk driving and distraction are two other areas it wants to tackle as well. The company will present some ideas at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 20.