Those who were hoping to drive their Volvo at high speeds, which in the U.S. means finding a track, will be out of luck come next year. The automaker announced it will be limiting all its vehicles to a top speed of 112 mph starting in 2020.
Volvo already has a reputation for being safety-conscious and speeding is a big danger. The announcement of this new speed limit is a part of Vision 2020, which has the goal of seeing no one killed or seriously injured in new Volvos by 2020.
Although advanced safety technologies play a part in keeping drivers safe, Volvo says it’s not enough. Rather than simply creating more technologically advanced cars that help prevent accidents, Volvo is focusing on changing driver behaviors.
“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 limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.”
The problem with speeding goes deeper than most people realize. The obvious issue is that driving at high speeds gives drivers less time to react and can result in more severe crashes. There’s also the problem of how the advanced safety tech works at those speeds.
The public is still learning the limitations of what their cars can do and most people don’t fully understand exactly how everything works. People expect that tech to help them no matter what, but they may be driving too fast for it to be effective.
Not only is Volvo limiting the top speed of its vehicles, it’s also looking at ways of enforcing speed limits. Smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically lower that top limit. This would make it impossible to speed through a school zone or any other area with lowered speed limits.
“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 behavior and help people realize and understand that speeding is dangerous.”
In addition to addressing the problem of speeding, Volvo is also looking at distracted driving and driving under the influence, all of which pose a significant danger to anyone on the road. Volvo has plans to tackle those issues as well, so setting a reduced speed limit on its cars is only a first step in a wider effort to improve safety.