• Sep 30, 2009
Volvo has publicly stated that it would like to eradicate accident-related injuries and deaths per year by the year 2020; an extraordinarily lofty goal that would obviously save countless lives. But in the next ten years, hundreds of thousands of drivers will die in traffic accidents in the U.S. alone, and Volvo feels that anti-distracted driving legislation passing through Washington right now could save quite a few.

To support the legislation, Volvo took out full-page ads in yesterday's Washington Post and USA Today. Volvo points out in the ads that it has long been committed to avoiding distracted driving accidents, and safety tech like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning are evidence of the Swedish automaker's track record. The ads are purposely being run at the same time law makers, safety advocates, law enforcement and transportation officials converge in Washington for a distracted driving summit.

Volvo Cars North America President and CEO Doug Speck underscores his company's commitment to distracted driving laws, stating the need for "reasonable laws that help focus a driver's attention on the road will help reduce collisions, just as laws to enforce seat belt use have helped save lives." And when Volvo is talking about distracted driving, it's not just worried about text messaging and cell phones. The Swedish automaker also counts passengers, rubbernecking, driver fatigue, reading newspapers, books, and maps, adjusting the radio and looking at scenery as potential driving hazards.

We're definitely with Volvo with the book reading and the rubbernecking, but we'll take majestic scenery wherever we can get it. And if Volvo wants to eradicate map reading in the car, it can start by improving its own cloyingly contrived navigation system interface. Hit the jump to read the Volvo press release.

[Source: Volvo]

PRESS RELEASE:

ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Sept. 29, 2009) - Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (VCNA) is placing full-page ads in the Sept. 30 issues of USA Today and TheWashington Post that call for distracted driving legislation. Publicly taking a position on the need for legislation is a first for Volvo, and the company chose to do so simultaneous to the Department of Transportation's "Distracted Driving Summit" in Washington, D.C.

The summit is a two-day meeting between senior transportation officials, elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement representatives and academics to discuss how to combat distracted driving. The ads discuss how Volvo, which is not a Summit participant, has long been focused on eliminating collisions in which distracted driving is a factor. Volvo has done this, in part, by building cars that stop themselves and warn fatigued drivers when they waiver from their lane.

"With the proliferation of cell phone use and text messaging while behind the wheel, distracted driving is on the rise and is a leading cause of traffic accidents," said Doug Speck, VCNA president and CEO. "Reasonable laws that help focus a driver's attention on the road will help reduce collisions, just as laws to enforce seat belt use have helped save lives. By holding this summit, the DOT is demonstrating its commitment to resolve an ever-growing safety issue."

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, seven states currently outlaw the use of a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving, and 18 states prohibit text messaging. Both activities are barred in D.C. In addition to cell phone use, other common driver distractions include rubbernecking (slowing down to look at an accident), driver fatigue, looking at scenery, other passengers, adjusting the radio and reading newspapers, books or maps.

Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (www.volvocars.com/us) is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Corporation of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCNA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States, and oversees Volvo operations in Canada.


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  • 13 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      @frankhoffy

      It's not the fact the nav rises up out of the dash, although when I looked at one it had a lot of trouble with washout from direct sunlight up there. The problem is having the nav controls built into the steering wheel, where no one but the driver can access them. My wife is perfectly capable of making entries in my Jetta's nav, but with the steering wheel controls only the driver can make them. That means a) making a stop to adjust it, or b) fiddle with the controls while driving. Neither of these are acceptable to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Volvo raising the issue is a very smart move for them, and it makes sense. They are the definition of a safe car today, so why not support an issue involving safety on the roads with other drivers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Volvo isn't "the definition of a safe car" so much as "the definition of cultivating an image of safety." This image far exceeds the safety of its actual products; the S40 and S60 have not actually done particularly well in crash testing from either IIHS or NHTSA. Neither earned fives stars in every NHTSA test like so many other cars, and neither earned the top rating in the IIHS side crash test. Something about "rib fractures and/or internal injuries" that so many other cars -- including many econoboxes -- were able to prevent.

        Yet clearly even car people still think of Volvo as the epitome of automotive safety, instead of the automakers who actually do the best in crash tests. The top-performing brands are Acura and Subaru; Volvo isn't close.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only way to reduce accidents drastically is to take people out of the equation and let all the cars on the road talk to each other and drive themselves without any human input.

      The world will save enormous amount of money on insurance costs alone, which is a very unproductive use of society's resource.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just take the bus or train and leave the driving to the one that enjoy it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Kudos to Volvo! But:
      We actually need a summit to tell us that texting, talking on the phone, playing with the nav while driving is dangerous?

      What a waste of tax dollars! Its common sence my friends. Instead of passing legislation against distractions like this a national law with severe penalties (say for example like a red light camera). Lets hold a summit, sit around,chat, listen to experts (like you really need an expert to tell you that if your talking on the phone your more likely to crash) and in the end we will agree to spend some more tax dollars on research and further evaluate the situation.

      Is this country that screwed up in bipartisan BS that we cant even pass a simple law to make people safer drivers? Or are people still freaking out that our President is black?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a great PR stunt which will no doubt further distract consumers from the fact that they no longer make the safest cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This from a company that didn't make BlueTooth standard in its cars until 2009
        • 5 Years Ago
        In US maybe. Here in EU we have it for many years...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't believe a million new legislation will fix the problem - I believe in educating people to be more responsible and better drivers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They need to make the punishment and enforcement of these laws harsher so that people actually acknowledge them. I say, if you get caught texting while driving, you lose your license or (your choice) the ability to own or use any kind of cell phone/pager/blackberry/mobile PC for a period of 5 years. If someone were walking down the street pointing a gun and texting with their trigger finger at the same time, I'm pretty sure we'd take their gun away--but somehow piloting a 3500 lb. projectile through crowded streets among fellow motorists and pedestrians while you're focusing on typing out messages on your phone is just fine. People need to learn to appreciate the responsibility that comes along with having a license and understand that the inherent freedom that comes along with driving is a privilege and not a right. /rant
      • 5 Years Ago
      Relax, it was a joke. I'm all for safety. And really, a Michael Moore wannabe? I'm about as Michael Mooreish as you are witty. Which means, not very.
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