Volvo Cars has delivered on its promise made last year to introduce a lowered top speed on its model range in an effort to help improve road safety. Every new Volvo car now has a limited top speed of 112mph, a limit which goes beyond regulation and legislation.
As well as the speed cap, every Volvo car now also come with a Care Key, which allows owners to set additional limitations on the car’s top speed, for example before lending their car to other family members or to younger and inexperienced drivers.
“We believe that a car maker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety,” said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “Our speed-limiting technology, and the dialogue that it initiated, fits that thinking. The speed cap and Care Key help people reflect and realise that speeding is dangerous, while also providing extra peace of mind and supporting better driver behaviour.”
The top speed limit has proven to be controversial since it was announced, with some observers questioning the rights of car makers to impose such limitations through available technology. Volvo Cars believes it has an obligation to continue its initiatives involving the rights and obligations of car makers to take action that can ultimately save lives, even if this means losing potential customers.
The problem with speeding, in Volvo’s view, 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. This 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. Millions of people still get speeding tickets every year.
Various research projects have shown that on average, people have a poor understanding of the dangers caused by speeding. As a result, many people often drive too fast and have poor speed adaption in relation to the traffic situation.
Apart from speeding, intoxication and distraction are two other primary areas of concern for traffic safety. As part of Volvo Cars’ vision of a future with zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries, the company is taking action to address all three of these elements of human behaviour, with more features to be introduced in future cars.