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Germany’s Autobahn faces blanket speed limits

The unlimited sections of the autobahn motorway in Germany are often revered as the last bastion of hope in a world of overly zealous health and safety laws. Now, it seems, those uber-fast portions of road could be consigned to the history books.

Peer Steinbrueck, leader of the opposition in Germany, has been pushing for a blanket speed limit of 75mph (120km/h) to be applied to unrestricted sections of the famous 7,981 mile long motorway network, in the hope of reducing the number of serious accidents and fatalities.

Mr Steinbrueck cites statistics published by the European Transport Safety Council in 2008, which found 67 per cent of the 645 deaths on the autobahns happened on the sections where no speed limit was present. Another study found the introduction of a 130km/h limit reduced the number of road deaths and serious injuries by 30 per cent.

Speeding is obviously going to make a crash more severe – that’s basic physics – but statistics can often be used to paint an skewed picture of the facts. Data between 2007 and 2009 actually found 12 per cent of road deaths in Germany came from motorways, with a whopping 60 per cent attributed to slower rural roads.

Even with a growing population and more drivers on the roads, road deaths dropped from 770 in 2001 to 475 in 2009 — a 40 per cent decrease without any extra enforcement besides extra limits on heavy goods vehicles overtaking other road users. In the UK, road casualties and deaths decreased by 14 per cent when speed cameras were axed.

Previous attempts to impose blanket speed limits on the Autobahn have been rejected by chancellor Angela Merkel.

A maximum speed of 81mph on the autobahn is already advised by the German government.

The argument about speed causing deaths is nearly as old as the trees so expect it to surface again in the future. At least, until we invent teleportation

Source: MSN Cars 


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