Will there be top speeds on motorways in the near future? There are many indications that the legislature will pass a general speed limit in Germany of 130 km / h in the next few years. More and more citizens are in favor. Now the Greens have announced that they will not enter into a coalition at the federal level without speed restrictions. 1
Greens make speed limit in Germany a coalition condition
Experts assume that the Greens will belong to the next federal government. The grand coalition is unpopular in the SPD, and it will presumably refuse to be re-launched. According to the current status of the polls, everything points to an alliance between the Union and the Greens as an alternative. The announcement by Federal Chairman Robert Habeck is correspondingly relevant: Without a generally applicable speed limit on German motorways, there will be no coalition with the Greens. The possible coalition partner replied immediately. CDU general secretary Paul Ziemiak rejected this condition outraged and described maximum speeds on motorways as a summer sluggish issue.
Climate protection as an argument for a general speed limit
Proponents of a speed limit of 130 km / h support the proposal of the Greens, on a party-political level these include the SPD and the Left Party. In the case of non-governmental organizations, the environmental associations are calling for a restriction. You cite climate protection as a reason. Experts largely agree that lower speeds would lead to lower emissions. The connection is obvious: the greater air resistance at high speeds increases fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions. The Federal Environment Agency calculated the possible savings at the beginning of the year; it relates to cars and light commercial vehicles. At a speed limit in Germany of 130 km / h, the annual consumption would be reduced by 1.9 million tons of CO2, at 120 km / h by 2.6 million tons. Critics counter this by saying that the savings are comparatively small: in 2018, cars and light commercial vehicles on motorways caused a total of 39.1 million tons of CO2, the entire transport sector 164 million tons. Environmental associations and co. Point out that this saving is free and therefore makes sense.
Road safety: dispute over necessity
The supporters of a speed limit make further arguments. This includes road safety; a lower speed limit would reduce the number of serious accidents. Most experts see it that way and is understandable even for laypeople. Excessive speed differences between road users lead to risky overtaking maneuvers. In bad weather conditions, the risk of drivers losing control of their car also increases. Opponents emphasize the high level of road safety that exists on German autobahns and consider a speed limit in Germany to be unnecessary. In fact, there are more deaths in sales on federal highways outside of built-up areas, measured per billion vehicle kilometers driven: According to statistics from ADAC, motorways do significantly better at 1.7 to 6.3. 2 The question arises, however, as to whether this comparison is permissible in the debate about a speed limit: Federal roads are mostly winding, which increases the risk of accidents. A limited speed on motorways could lead to a decrease in the death rate there, which can be seen as a value in itself without comparison with the federal highways.
Is there a speed limit in Germany for a better flow of traffic?
Another advantage of a speed limit is the smooth flow of traffic, there are fewer traffic jams. Hardly anyone doubts this fundamental advantage. It is disputed whether the legislature should therefore introduce a general speed limit in Germany. Opponents believe that today's permanent or temporary speed restrictions in the vicinity of metropolises and in metropolitan areas such as the Ruhr area are sufficient. This is where the traffic density and the risk of congestion are highest; on most sections of the route, drivers have long since had to adhere to a speed limit. Proponents also know this and usually mention the flow of traffic as an additional reason, but in the discussion they concentrate on the positive effects on climate protection and traffic safety.
Free travel on German autobahns: Unique in the world
One thing is certain: the lack of a general speed limit in Germany is out of the ordinary in an international comparison. Only a few countries like Afghanistan do without a restriction, all other states limit the speed to around 120 to 140 km / h. Examples from the EU:
- Belgium: 120 km / h
- France: 130 km / h and 110 km / h in the rain
- Poland: 140 km / h
The government of the Netherlands has been going one step further since this year for reasons of climate protection and enforces a speed limit of 100 km / h between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. The unique position of Germany gives the proponents of a speed limit a boost.
1 Zeitonline to "Greens want speed limit 130 as the first government measure " (status: 14.07.2020)
2 ADAC on the speed limit on motorways (as of May 18, 2020)