The auto industry sticks to its no to a general speed limit on highways. The attitude was unchanged, said a spokesman for the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) of the German Press Agency (dpa) and referred to a message from the lobby association from the end of December. At that time, the VDA had declared that the debate about a general rigid speed limit on German motorways was "not helpful".
The trigger for the new speed limit debate is the ADAC, with over 21 million members the largest automobile club in Germany. For decades the automobile club was strictly against a speed limit, now it has softened its negative attitude. The ADAC was "no longer fundamentally" against a speed limit, ADAC Vice President for Traffic, Gerhard Hillebrand, told the dpa.
Hillebrand justified the new neutrality of his association with the opposing views of its members. "The discussion about introducing a general speed limit on highways is emotional and polarizes among members," he said. "Therefore, the ADAC is currently not stipulated in the question". Objectification is urgently needed. The effects of a speed limit should be urgently clarified in a comprehensive study. "This would provide a reliable basis for decision-making".
"Tempo 130 on highways can be part of a cultural change"
From the perspective of the auto industry, however, a general speed limit on highways helps neither the environment nor safety. The VDA statement at the end of December stated that a significant part of the motorways already included speed limits. In addition, German motorways are the safest roads, and in terms of climate policy, a rigid speed limit on motorways means nothing.
The federal manager of the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC), Burkhard Stork, sees this fundamentally differently. "Speed 130 on motorways can be part of a cultural change that we urgently need in Germany," he also told the dpa and praised the ADAC: "It is good that the ADAC has recognized that there are more and more people who want this cultural change". Stork also recalled the security factor in the debate. This is the top priority in traffic, but is increasingly falling behind. "So far, maximum speed has priority - that doesn't work together," says the ADFC managing director.
In fact, drivers can accelerate indefinitely on the majority of motorways in Germany. According to data from the Federal Highway Research Institute, which, however, was five years ago, around 70 percent of the motorway network is without a binding speed limit. There are permanent or temporary restrictions with signs on 20.8 percent of the network. There are also variable traffic control displays.
A speed limit is currently also controversial in the black-red coalition. The SPD is in favor, the Union largely against it. Before Christmas, Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) said: "We have far more outstanding tasks than repeating this highly emotional topic again and again in the shop window - for which there are no majorities."