This week Volvo Cars India said every new car it delivers will have a limited top speed of 180kph; last year the company had stated it will introduce such a limitation. In 2008, the Swedish carmaker had set out a vision that, by 2020, “nobody should be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo car.” It’s 2020. Apart from the speed cap, every new Volvo car will also come with something called a Care Key, which allows Volvo drivers 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.
“Together, the 180kph speed limitation and the Care Key send a strong signal about the dangers of speeding, underlining Volvo Cars’ position as a worldwide leader in safety. Both features illustrate how carmakers can take active responsibility for striving to achieve zero traffic fatalities by supporting better driver behaviour,” the company said in a statement.
“We believe that a carmaker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety,” said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, in a press release to the media. “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 carmakers to impose such limitations through available technology.Yet Volvo Cars says believes it has an obligation to continue its tradition of being a pioneer in the discussion around the rights and obligations of carmakers to take action that can ultimately save lives, even if this means losing potential customers.
The problem 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.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.
Research shows that, on average, people have poor understanding of the dangers around 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 areas of concern for traffic safety and that constitute the remaining gap towards Volvo Cars’ vision of a future with zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries. It is taking action to address all three elements of human behaviour in its safety work, with more features to be introduced in future cars.
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