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Six die in four-car autobahn pile-up

Published: 18 Nov 2012 10:01 GMT+01:00

The A5 motorway in Baden-Württemberg was closed in both directions between Offenburg and Lahr and was expected to remain shut for most of the day, while emergency services cleared the wreckage and tried to work out what happened.

Victims' identities are yet to have been released, but police confirmed that six people were killed when four vehicles crashed into each other. Fire fighters managed to pull two survivors from the wreckage, one of whom was seriously injured and the other less so.

A police statement said they had received reports of a car going the wrong way up the motorway before the crash.

“The accident site is covered with wreckage,” a police spokesman said, adding that most of that needed to be cleared before investigators could get an idea of what happened.

This was the third accident killing multiple people in Baden-Württemberg over the last three weeks. At the end of October, a crash near Baden-Baden left a family of four dead. At the beginning of November, a father and his three children died.

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:47 November 18, 2012 by smart2012
First condolences to the families affected. One point for discussion: when I came to Germany 10 years ago I thought not having a speed limit was great. However I became more skeptical once I started to see old vehicles driving at 220 km / h. Vehicles which I could barely imagine driving at 130 km/h. This to say that not having a speed limit and enabling every car driving so fast could be one of the causes. I know car lobby will fight against a limit, but if it is saving lives it would be good to bring it on the table (considering that driving faster is against environment). For post election of course...
13:17 November 18, 2012 by chicagolive
Problem is in the last accidents it has been either drunk drivers or people driving down the wrong way down the autobahn. I think really on off ramp design needs to be changed. I have never had a accident(knock on wood)but on a few occasions due to horrible road design I did find myself going in the wrong direction. I noticed and quickly recovered but some people don't. Also a life time license without getting regularly checked for issues that could impair driving is also a recipe for disaster. Speed limits really don't change much especially if you compare to the states. Also due to the lack of speed limits Auto companies here have spend alot of money building safety systems in their cars which would not have under normal circumstances been even invented.
13:58 November 18, 2012 by Englishted
@smart2012,

However if you follow your argument to its logical end we will have to walk and preferably rapped in cotton wool, I also don't think it will be at the forefront in the forth coming election campaign.

The problem in the above case (condolences to the families) is a car driving the wrong way again there seems to be two possible conclusions ,first somebody committing suicide and killing innocents as well (resent case). Second and more likely somebody getting onto the autobahn by mistake ,this is all to easy to do on German roads as many drivers will know although not from personal experience and that when visibility is perfect ,the problem is naturally exasperated by darkness and poor visibility .
15:09 November 18, 2012 by smart2012
With my brand new BMW cabrio or with my dream car jeep grand Cherokee I do not have safety concerns, but I have concerns seeing old cars (passat, 190, Astra) driving so fast. Do not tell me that cars built 15 years ago are as safe? This is a concern I think, which of course may not impact this specific case. Even if a crash at 200km/h is always more dangerous and bigger than one at 100, whatever car u r driving
15:17 November 18, 2012 by Englishted
@smart2012

I don't know ,I think you are correct mainly but a old Volvo was built like a tank (used about the same fuel too) don't argue with one of those .
21:15 November 18, 2012 by smart2012
U r right, the issue starts when u have to break..
22:21 November 18, 2012 by crm114
don't let your new BMW cabrio lull you into a false sense of security the laws of physics apply to all things and everyone, irresistable force immovable object something has to give. Perhaps therein lies part of the problem you think you have no safety concerns, with that attitude perhaps you should take the bus.
23:29 November 18, 2012 by DinhoPilot
Note to everyone:

The human body does not fare well if it suffers an impact at more than 30 mph or quick deacelaration. So yes, speed does not kill stopping does, but everyone knows it is easier to stop from 100 km than 200 km, and if you are going to impact something an older car at 100 will be better than the best supper dupper at 200 km.
23:38 November 18, 2012 by smart2012
Am glad we all agree that "no speed limit" is a non sense for safety.
06:14 November 19, 2012 by jmclewis
@ smart2012

Driving faster does not mean less safe then driving slower. The faster people drive the more they focus on driving. When people drive slower they tend to focus less on driving more on music, phone, eating and reading. Mandating a limit that is below the natural average speed on a road leads to most people ignoring the limit; this tends to cause more accidents because of the speed difference between vehicles is greater. The age of a car does not mean it is not as safe to drive fast compared to a new vehicle. More important criteria is the design and engineering of the car. The suspension, brakes, tires center of gravity and the maintenance and care of these systems. An old well maintained Porsche 911 is allot safer to drive fast then a new Fiat Punto.
09:11 November 19, 2012 by smart2012
jmclewis, we already had the convesration, u see the conclusion above ie "no speed limit" is a non sense for safety.
09:49 November 19, 2012 by DoubleDTown
@Chicagolive & @EnglishTed: you are both so right on the design issue. What are German road engineers thinking having the on/off ramps share a ramp? Between the two being directly next to each other, often with only a painted line separating them, and their curving and consequently somewhat confusing nature, it is way too easy to accidentally get onto the Autobahn going the wrong way. The fact it happens so often in Germany they have a vocabulary word for it speaks for itself. Throw in a little darkness, a little fog, a little distraction of the driver and BOOM.
10:14 November 19, 2012 by SwabianEnglander
@DoubleDTown - very good point about the problem being so common there's a German word for it. As there's no simple English translation and no similar problem in Britain (and I guess the USA) then Germany has to realise it's a problem of its own making. As has already been said the on/off ramp design is dreadful in Germany, my experience of mainly British and French motorways is that it's virtually impossible to "accidentally" drive the wrong way onto the road.

I suspect the authorities already know it's their road junction design but won't admit it because of the cost of re-modelling them all (and possibly legal action from families of victims suing because of road design faults).
13:20 November 20, 2012 by BobbyBaxter
Lack of driving skills are to blame for nearly all accidents i.e. lack of spacial awareness, not indicating, driving too close to the car in front, stting in the middle lane regardless of others etc etc.

Speed in itself does not casue accidents.

I can imagine it is people like SMART2012 who are the kind of people who think it is ok to sit in the middle lane, sipping a coffee whilst never looking in the mirror that are the real cause of all accidents.......
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