Volvo's unprecedented stance on road safety
Motorists regularly ponder why cars have ‘irrelevant’ top speeds when those speeds cannot be used – legally – on public roads.
Volvo has gone beyond regulation and legislation to introduce a limited top speed on all models of 180km/h.
Every new Volvo will also come with a Care Key, which allows 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.
Motoring writer and founder of seniordriveraus.com Paul Murrell says the moves send a strong signal about the dangers of speeding. “Both features illustrate how car makers can take active responsibility for striving to achieve zero traffic fatalities by supporting better driver behaviour,” he says. “Some would suggest that it illustrates a degree of over-intervention or a nanny-state mentality but Volvo has never made any apologies for pushing the safety boundaries.”
Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, believes car makers have a responsibility to improve traffic safety.
“Our speed limiting technology, and the dialogue that it initiated, fits that thinking,” she says. “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.”
Mr Murrell says none of this technology is failsafe and too often can be circumvented, but believes it is a step in the right direction. “We’re just not sure if it is the car companies who should be initiating it,” he says.
What do you think? Are these limitations a step too far? Should car companies be able to use technology to curtail bad driving habits? Will such restrictions make an appreciable difference to the road toll?