Germany looks to set a speed limit on autobahns

Germany looks to set a speed limit on autobahns

Germany's autobahns have long been a favourite of drivers from around the world, but red-lining the speedo could be a thing of the past under proposed new laws which would cap drives at 130km/h.

While this speed currently serves as an 'advisory' limit on just over half of the 12,900km motorway network, a government panel is considering introducing 130km/h as an autobahn-wide limit, according to a leaked report – a controversial move which would mark the end of Germany’s famous open-road policy.

While roadworks and other restrictions continually taper driving speeds along the motorways, the absence of speed limits enhances Germany’s reputation both as a maker of high-performance cars and as a nation that lets customers drive them.

Environmentalists backed by the Green Party have been at loggerheads with the German Association of the Automotive Industry lobby for years over the open road policy.

In a front-page headline on Saturday, the tabloid Bild Zeitung blasted the proposals as a “mad” shock to all car drivers.

“Our autobahnen (motorways) are a symbol of freedom. ‘Tested on German autobahn’ is a quality seal,” the paper said in a leader column. “There are enough speed limits.”

The proposals are being considered to comply with new laws aiming to  cut emissions in all sectors of the German economy.  As a signatory of the Paris Climate accord, Germany must slash emissions from energy, industry, heating and cooling and farming by 2030.

Full-electric and hybrid passenger cars accounted for only 2 percent of all German road registrations in 2018, but Germany has an ambitious goal to get one million electric vehicles on its road by 2020, with EV and hybrids representing half of all new registrations by 2030.

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15 comments

  • sgb

    sgb

    24 Jan, 2019 09:00 am

    130kph is a far cry from 80kph limit on the new improved Tulla Freeway to the airport in Melbourne, at least at that speed you might be able to dodge the 4 tonne plummeting road signs.....
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  • Rufus1

    Rufus1

    24 Jan, 2019 09:16 am

    Seriously, there'd be a revolution if they did this. Germans consider it their birthright to sit on 180kmh+ whenever possible.
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  • Mark

    Mightyreds

    24 Jan, 2019 10:45 am

    I cannot see the German's excepting this proposal, and I for one certianly hope they don't. They are proud of the Automahn's and as Rufus1 pointed out, they see it as their right to drive at speed. They are also far better drivers due to the intense driving tests.
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  • 346

    346

    24 Jan, 2019 11:39 am

    Most people in EU countries consider the official limit of 130km/h "advisory" anyway.. so probably wont make too much of a difference.
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  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    28 Jan, 2019 09:12 pm

    Actually, Europe has caught the speed camera bug in the last couple of years...
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  • grov

    grov

    24 Jan, 2019 03:28 pm

    When living in Germany many years ago, there already was a problem on the east-west autobahns with the high truck traffic occupying one lane. Often this only left one lane for cars, but as long as everybody passed quickly and dived back into the slow lane, all was ok. Did mean a lot of accelerator work. If they restrict the speed I can see a problem looming.
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  • born2fish

    born2fish

    24 Jan, 2019 09:09 pm

    The Germans are very disciplined, courteous and safe drivers in my experiences (even at high speed); but it's often visitors from other countries that cause issues on the autobahns. The occasional bad drivers I encounter on the autobahns are often truck drivers from the eastern EU countries, or Brits & Italians in high performance sports cars driving above their skill level. Any muppet can drive fast - but doing it safely is what matters. Reckon we can all learn a lot from how the Germans approach their driving, but autobahn speeds wouldn't work here for a number of reasons obviously.

    For info, a lot of autobahns have variable speed signs to reduce to 130 kmh in rain or further reductions for hazardous conditions such as regularly congested urban areas with many on ramps, so it's not the free for all that is sometimes portrayed. I have also seen some sections of road automatically spray a mist of antifreeze on sweeping corners to stop the buildup of ice, which is great idea for somebody who has previously seen a nasty pile up in the USA due to icy corners at freeway speeds.

    If you want to see how much the driving has degenerated in Australia, check out the Dash Cam Owners Australia channel on YouTube (I'm not affiliated with it)..… worth viewing just for the typical Aussie reactions. That's why we have 80kmh limits on the Tulla Freeway in Melb…..


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  • Rav

    Rav

    24 Jan, 2019 11:42 pm

    We have 80kmh on our freeways because bureaucrats in Vic roads have a mantra to cause as much mayhem as they can get away with under the safety rules. They take out turning lanes and turning areas in divided roads and make you go to the next lights and set them up that it takes 3 changes of lights to do a u turn. 1 example, there are hundreds. They have a philosophy to make all of Vic roads slower irrespective of the chaos caused.
    Hence 130k roads marked as 80k
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  • Amt

    Amt

    25 Jan, 2019 02:41 am

    Why would an environmental lobby want reduced speed limits, do they think if they make driving ‘less fun’ it will entice people away from buying cars?




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  • born2fish

    born2fish

    25 Jan, 2019 03:35 pm

    At the risk of sounding like an enviro-sympathiser we all know there is a big difference in fuel used between cruising along at 80 - 100 compared to charging through at 160+ kmh.
    FRA-BER on the autobahn without traffic is usually 5hrs and 1 tank of fuel, but I have also done it "very swiftly" in the same vehicle and needing 2 fuel stops. Purely for research purposes (cough, cough), I can confirm that most of the standard Mercedes & BMW are electronically limited to 250 km/h with some rental fleets limited to 200 km/h, and although many can technically go faster, it is the speed rating of the tyres that are the safety limiting factor for sustained high speeds.
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  • Rav

    Rav

    25 Jan, 2019 12:00 pm

    They are the Government department for roads not an enviro lobby.
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  • Amt

    Amt

    25 Jan, 2019 12:40 pm

    Environmentalists backed by the Green Party have been at loggerheads with the German Association of the Automotive Industry lobby for years over the open road policy.
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  • Rav

    Rav

    25 Jan, 2019 02:41 pm

    Yes, the Green party has lost some big cases in resent times, the opening of the new open cut coal mines Germany and the destruction of the new growth forests (from after the war) is a big case in point.
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  • Bavarian

    Bavarian

    25 Jan, 2019 03:54 pm

    It pops up in the news every year, it's always the Greens - and it has never made it. Doesn't say anything about the future, but...
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  • charlie18

    charlie18

    25 Jan, 2019 04:32 pm

    Last time I had the pleasure, EuropCar only had a Citroen left. Downhill, with the wind behind me - she hit 159kph with speed wobble! Was overtaken by an elderly woman in a run of the mill hatch back who threw me the finger.
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20 Feb, 2019 12:55 pm

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