German government puts brakes on autobahn speed limits

German government puts brakes on autobahn speed limits

Road sign in France: speed limit at 130 km / h (one hundred and thirty kilometers per hour). iStock Photo

“Whoever wants to drive 120 can drive 120, and those who want to go faster can do that too”

A proposal by Germany’s centre-left Green Party to impose a blanket 130 km/h speed limit on all of the country’s otherwise derestricted autobahns, has been dismissed for making little sense.

In a sitting of the Bundestag, the German Parliament, last week, the bill was rejected by 631 votes to 498 with Green Party Transport Committee Chair, Cem Özdemir, reportedly accusing Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer of “defending a transport policy from the day before yesterday”.

According to the party’s Anton Hofreiter, who spoke to Deutsche Welle (DW) via the German press agency, dpa, the passing of the bill would not only have resulted in fewer emissions, but reduce fatalities, curb pollution and reduce costs.

“Those who want to make motorways safer and the traffic flow more smoothly must back a speed limit,” he said.

In an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung back in January, Deputy Federal Leader for Germany’s Gewerkschaft der Polizei (GdP) or Police Officers Union, Michael Mertens, said that a speed limit of 130 km/h would not only reduce accidents, but alleviate track jams.

“From the point of view of the police, it is very clear: Accidents on the highway and their consequences have a lot to do with speed and physical forces,” a translated version of Mertens’ response read.

“In this country, some people legally drive 200 or 250 km/h. To be clear, that is crazy. At this rate nobody can control their car in stressful situations. I had seen more victims of accidents than is good. Many of them are a result of too high speed”.

At a similar Bundestag sitting on the matter at the beginning of the year, Scheuer was quoted by Bild am Sonntag as saying, “whoever wants to drive 120 can drive 120, and those who want to go faster can do that too. Why this constant micromanagement?”

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