Come 2020, your new Volvo will only be able to go as fast as 180km/h, in line with the company’s laser focus on road safety.
The speed limit forms part of the company’s Vision 2020, which aims for zero deaths or serious injury in a new Volvo by 2020.
Volvo acknowledges that technology alone will not get numbers all the way to zero, hence it’s now broadening its scope to include a focus on driver behaviour.
The company’s research has identified three remaining concerns for safety that constitute so-called ‘gaps’ in its ambition to completely end serious injuries and fatalities in its cars, with speeding a very prominent one.
“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be,” said Volvo Cars’ president and chief executive Håkan Samuelsson.
“Because of our research, we know where the problem areas are when it comes to ending serious injuries and fatalities in our cars.”
Mr Samuelsson admits that while a hard speed limit is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if it 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 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 behaviour, to tackle things such as speeding, intoxication or distraction,” said Mr Samuelsson.
Volvo highlights the limits of modern in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design, which above certain speeds are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident.
According to the US’ National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 25 percent of all traffic fatalities in the US in 2017 were caused by speeding.
People simply do not recognise the danger involved in speed, says Volvo’s safety expert Jan Ivarsson.
“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.”
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and distractions with things like mobile phones, Volvo says, are the other two causes of traffic fatalities.
Volvo will present ideas to tackle the problem areas of intoxication and distraction at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden, on March 20.