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Greens call for speed limit on Germany's Autobahn

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Greens call for speed limit on Germany's Autobahn
A speed limit sign on the A24 near Suckow, Mecklenburg West Pomerania. Photo: DPA
09:25 CEST+02:00
Germany's Green party is calling for a 130km per hour limit on the Autobahn.

According to media reports, the environmentalist party is launching a motion in the Bundestag. It comes after the federal government earlier this year strictly rejected a general speed limit on the country's Autobahn, where there is famously no speed restrictions in some parts.

But the Greens are arguing that limiting speed will make the roads safer and help slow climate change.

"If you want to make motorways safer and traffic flow more smoothly, you cannot avoid the speed limit," Anton Hofreiter, leader of the Green parliamentary group, told the "Redaktions Netzwerk Deutschland" (RND).

"It prevents many accidents and significantly increases the capacity of motorways,” he said.

“In addition, it protects drivers' wallets and lowers traffic noise as well as greenhouse gas emissions.”

SEE ALSO: German government rejects speed limit on Autobahn

The motion, which has been seen by the RND, calls on the federal government to introduce a general speed limit on motorways from 2020. It's set to be on the Bundestag agenda on Thursday.

In Germany, there has been a decades-long dispute asking if a general speed limit should be enacted on the country's world-famous Autobahn.

Although the country's motorways are considered to be the safest of all streets and roads in Germany, some experts hope that cracking down on speeding will result in accidents of a lower severity.

The most recent heated debate was triggered earlier this year when the working group, National Platform on the Future of Mobility, proposed a 130 km speed limit.

SEE ALSO: Fact check: Will a speed limit on Germany's Autobahn be beneficial

In response, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, of the centre-right CSU, the Bavarian sister party of the CDU, spoke out sharply against the idea, calling it “against all common sense.”

However, Hofreiter has challenged this response.

"The federal government is the last government in Europe to ignore the logical arguments on the speed limit," continued the Green parliamentary group leader.

The Green request states that the introduction of speed limits on some local Autobahn roads has had positive effects – for example a limit has been in place since December 2002 on the A24 between the Havelland and Wittstock/Dosse motorway junctions.

"The results are clear: the number of accidents, deaths and injuries in each subsequent year was significantly lower than in 2002,” the Greens state.

Meanwhile, the Green expert for urban development, Daniela Wagner, told the RND that having no speed limit on the federal motorways could no longer be justified: "Most accidents on motorways are so-called 'speed accidents'". In view of the high number of fatalities, action must be taken immediately, she added.

Vocabulary

Speed limit - (das) Tempolimit

Traffic noise - (der) Verkehrslärm

Safer - sicherer

Urban development - (die) Stadtentwicklung

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