Volvo to impose 180kph speed limit on all its new cars from 2020

The Japanese already do this
by Drei Laurel | Mar 5, 2019
PHOTO: Volvo

Volvo cars are some of the safest in the business. This is, after all, a brand that prides itself on safety almost more than anything, and today it shows in how its products are built and the tech inside them.

Still, this isn’t enough.

By 2020, Volvo hopes not a single person will be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars—a very ambitious goal. In a statement, the company acknowledges there are still obstacles in the way, with speed being the biggest one.

“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be,” Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo says in a statement.

“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.”

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“Wait a second. Speed limitation? What’s he on about? ” You’re probably asking. Well, the brand has announced that in line with its mission to eliminate traffic fatalities in its offerings, it plans to impose a 180kph speed on its entire lineup from 2020 onwards.

“We want to start a conversation about whether carmakers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver´s behavior, to tackle things like speeding, intoxication or distraction,” said Mr. Samuelsson. “We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”

You see, even with the countless driver assist systems and safety bits Volvo is putting into its cars, speeding will always be an issue.

“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," Volvo says.  “That 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.”

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“As humans, we all understand the dangers with snakes, spiders and heights. With speeds, not so much,” says Volvo safety expert Jan 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 behavior and help people realize and understand that speeding is dangerous.”

Besides speeding, Volvo also hopes to address the next two biggest obstacles to its 2020 goal: Intoxication and distraction. The company will tackle these issues during a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 20.

Speed limiters aren’t exactly a new thing. In Japan, a 180kph speed limit on all domestic market vehicles has been in effect since 1988. A horsepower limit was actually a thing over there, too, until the regulation was lifted in 2004. The home of the Nissan GT-R and Toyota Supra limiting how fast a car can go—something to think about.

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PHOTO: Volvo
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