What’s the Buzz: Should carmakers limit how fast we can drive?


It is only natural that we oppose rules that restrict our freedom of choice, but when it also concerns the potential loss of life and well-being of others on the road, it warrants debate and deeper scrutiny, which is why we think Volvo’s decision to limit the top speed of all its cars to 180 km/h by 2020 may find more supporters than detractors, even if we don’t necessarily agree to it from an enthusiast standpoint.

Some would no doubt argue that speed alone doesn’t kill, and that bad drivers who make bad decisions do, but like it or not, speed is almost always a contributing factor in serious road accidents – it cannot be removed from the equation.

If the law can’t keep speeds in check, carmakers may have to take action.

Of course, there will be supporting data showing how Germany allows derestricted stretches of highway and is no worse for wear, but many fail to recognise that very few countries around the world are like Germany when it comes to drivers’ education or having a road network that’s safer and more conducive for driving.

Limiting top speed isn’t to be equated with cars that are less exciting to drive either. Since 1988, Japanese manufacturers have voluntarily capped the top speed of the majority of cars sold in Japan at 180 km/h, yet the country still gave us iconic performance models such as Nissan GT-R, Honda Civic Type R and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Maybe that’s why Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world while Malaysia is ranked 67th, according to the World Health Organisation.


Denis Wong

Denis Wong

In the age of misinformation and spin, Denis prefers candour and a counterpoint, because the truth matters.
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