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Volvo Cars has announced that it will restrict the top speeds of its cars to 180kmph, effective from 2020 globally. But speed is not the only demon here, as driver behaviour is also one of the aspects that the company aims to bring under its global safety ambit, to achieve its goal of zero casualties in a Volvo car. Volvo’s announcement comes as no surprise, considering it is a leader when it comes to safety aspects of a car.
Volvo says that it has identified speeding as one of the major reasons for serious injuries and fatalities in its cars. Apart from speeding, intoxication (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) and distraction (drivers distracted by mobile phones or not fully engaged in driving) are the other problems that need to be addressed to bring down the global fatality figures to zero, says Volvo.
The company is also researching the combination of smart speed control and geo-fencing tech to limit speeds around schools and hospitals. Traffic accident data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration shows that 25 per cent of all traffic fatalities in the US in 2017 were caused by speeding.
“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be. 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. 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 such as speeding, intoxication or distraction. We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”
“As humans, we all understand the dangers with snakes, spiders and heights. With speeds, not so much. 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.”
While many of the top brands these days are into the race for speed and performance, Volvo has become the first manufacturer to take the ballsy move to reduce the speed limit of its cars. This speaks volumes of the brand’s commitment to safety and we appreciate that. It also raises many important questions. Will other car makers around the globe take a leaf out of Volvo’s book and impose similar restrictions? Or should they take initiatives to impart better driving techniques for all their customers? Will it impact sales? This opens a topic for another debate and we would like to know your thoughts on Volvo’s move to impose 180kmph speed limit.
Volvo Cars will present its ideas to tackle the problem areas of intoxication and distraction at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden, on March 20.