Green Party Goes After Germany’s Autobahns

Thu 16th Jul 2020

Unlimited speed limits on Germany’s motorway system could be under threat if a major political party lives up to their campaign promises.

The Green Party have promised that if they are part of a ruling coalition after next year’s elections then they will limit the speed of cars to just 80mph on autobahns.

According to the Federal Highway Research Institute there are 8,000 miles of autobahn in Germany, with 70 per cent having no limit on speed. Speed limits on German motorways only exist in areas close to towns or cities, and in cases of noise pollution.

Unlimited speed on motorways in Germany has long been held sacred in a nation famous for producing the likes of BMW, Audi and Volkswagen. But public opinion appears to be shifting towards restricting speeds, with environmental and safety concerns up for debate.

“This would probably be the new government’s first measure if the Green Party is involved,” said Robert Haback, co-leader of the Greens. “Even Adac is for it. Who is actually arguing against it?

“The claim that a speed limit on the autobahns is an intolerable constraint on civil liberty somehow sounds even more risible than it did before — now that we’ve seen the closure of churches, schools and so on.”

While ADAC, Germany’s version of the RAC, have declined to make an official comment on the subject. Speaking to the Times, Nick Lloyd, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents agreed with The Green Party’s stance.

“Evidence from around the world clearly demonstrates that there is a direct link between higher speed and severity of injury, and also fuel consumption,” Lloyd said. “Therefore, from both a safety and environmental point of view, there is a logic to considering reducing speeds on German autobahns. However, this is a matter for the German government and RoSPA would not wish to comment on what this should be.”