Volvo will begin limiting the top speed of its cars to 112mph (180kph) from next year.
The initiative is part of the company’s Vision 2020, which aims for no one to be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.
Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said: “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.”
Research by Volvo Cars has identified three remaining concerns for safety that constitute so-called ‘gaps’ in its ambition to completely end serious injuries and fatalities in its cars, with speeding a very prominent one.
Apart from limiting top speeds, the company is also investigating how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in 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.
Volvo says 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.
“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 behaviour and help people realise and understand that speeding is dangerous,” added Jan Ivarsson, one of Volvo Cars’ safety experts.
In Japan, car makers already install 112mph speed limiters in the majority of domestic market vehicles.
European manufacturers currently limit vehicles to 155mph, where applicable.
There are no laws requiring the fitment of speed limiters to passenger cars.
Volvo Cars will present ideas to tackle the problem areas of intoxication and distraction at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden, on March 20.