Volvo Imposes Speed Limits on Cars to Reduce Fatalities

Volvo wants to have zero fatalities from road accidents by 2020.

Volvo, a car company synonymous with safety is taking it one step further by introducing speed limits on its cars. In an announcement today, the Swedish carmakers say future models will have a 112MPH (180kmh) limit to ensure the optimal use of the vehicles inbuilt safety systems. 

The move is part of the company’s Vision 2020, which has the goal of ensuring that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020. Volvo’s ambition makes it a safety leader in the industry. 

Tech doesn't make good drivers

But Volvo understands that all the technology in the world doesn't make good drivers. To give them the best chance at achieving their vision the company is opening up its policies to include driver behavior. 

Volvo says that speeding is one of the is one of its main concerns as it moves towards a fatality-free future. “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 limit is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.” 

Volvo vows to continue to lead the industry

The reduced maximum speed limit is just one idea to tackle the gap between driver and technology. In addition to limiting overall maximum speed, Volvo is investigating using geofencing technology that could possible automatically reduce car speeds when around schools and hospitals. 

“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 behavior, to tackle things like speeding, intoxication or distraction,” said Mr. Samuelsson. “We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.” 

Drivers need to understand the dangers of speed better

As cars get safer and safer, they can often give an inflated feeling of protection to the driver which in turn causes poor driver behavior. Above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructures, such as automatic braking and lane-change, assist no longer work optimally. 

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Even without these technologies, any car traveling above certain speeds has reduced handling and control which may result in accidents. In fact, data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration shows that 25 percent of all traffic fatalities in the US in 2017 were caused by speeding. 

“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 adaptation 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. "

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Distraction and intoxication next on the list

Volvo has identified intoxication and distraction as the other two leading causes of accidents. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a leader in causing traffic accidents despite it being illegal in most parts of the world. Distraction is new and on the rising problem that is often associated with using devices while driving. Volvo vows to tackle these problems and will present its initial ideas in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 20.

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