Promising start — Volvo puts the brakes on

Riley Riley

Volvo has made good on its promise to cap the speed of its cars.

The Swedish car maker, which has built its reputation on safety, revealed 12 months ago that it planned to limit the speed of its cars to 180km/h.

At the time, the company said it was a necessary step on the road to achieving its ultimate goal of eliminating road deaths and believes that even if this move saves just one life — it’s still worth doing.

Apart from the cap on speed, every Volvo car will now also come with 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, Volvo says the 180km/h speed limitation and Care Key send a strong signal about the dangers of speeding, underlining its position as a worldwide leader in safety.

Both features illustrate how car makers can take active responsibility for striving to achieve zero traffic fatalities by supporting better driver behaviour.

“We believe that a car maker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety,” head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, Malin Ekholm, said.

“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 car makers to impose such limitations through available technology.

Yet Volvo believes it has an obligation to continue its tradition of being a pioneer in the discussion around the rights and obligations of car makers 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. Millions of people still get speeding tickets every year.”

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 primary 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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