Volvo to limit top speed on all new cars

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Volvo Cars has used this week’s Geneva motor show to announce that it will limit the top speed of its new cars at 180km/h (112mph) from next year.

The move has come because “too many people get seriously injured or even killed because of excessive speeding”.

Chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said: “While a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.”

The company cited figures from the US government’s highway safety agency showing that 25% of traffic fatalities in 2017 were caused by speeding.

Samuelsson also pointed out that in-car safety technology and road infrastructure design are all based on cars travelling at (or slightly beyond) the local speed limit.

Once a car goes significantly beyond the legal limit, a car’s safety systems are no longer enough to protect occupants or other road users in the event of an accident. Similarly, barriers and other road infrastructure are not designed to cope with vehicles losing control at significantly above the speed limit.

Your next Volvo may overrule your driving decisions

In addition to limiting top speeds, Volvo is also investigating how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in future.

Many motorists will be alarmed to hear of a car company openly planning to incorporate such big-brother tactics to override the driver. Today’s announcement also throws up more questions about how car companies and governments may co-operate to electronically control new vehicles in the not-too-distance 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 Samuelsson.

“We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”

Intoxication and distraction are the two other main killers

Samuelsson added there are two other major causes of traffic fatalities — intoxication and distraction.

Volvo Cars will present ideas to tackle these two problem areas at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 20 March.

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Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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