Monday, January 28, 2019


km/h or 80 mph is the speed limit that a working group of the Ministry of Transport has proposed for German autobahns. The mandate of the group was to consider ways and means of reducing the emission of carbon dioxide in transport activities. It was just one of the many recommendations the group has forwarded but the outcry among German drivers was loud as expected. Had they not been promised Freie Fahrt für freie Bürger (Free speed for free citizens) when previous proposals to limit the speed on the autobahn had been made?

The offending traffic sign (©RijschoolPro)
Even Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer - although he had set up the working group - said that the recommendation of a speed limit sei ge­gen je­den Men­schen­ver­stand (is against all common sense).

Andreas Scheuer looking at speed limits in other countries:
Irresponsible. Against all common sense (©Stuttmann).
Cem Özdemir, a leading German Green politician, stepped up the discussion contradicting the minister saying that on the contrary, a speed limit is a Gebot der Vernunft (matter of common sense). He added, "The discussion of a speed limit in Germany is a bit like discussing the right to bear arms with Americans." With only a slight majority in favor of a speed limit in a recent poll, our nation is deeply divided on the issue.

Red Baron’s car will accelerate to more than 120 mph but I rarely go faster than 80 mph on an autobahn*. I do not accept the argument of the adversaries of a speed limit: On about 40% of the autobahns, there already are speed limits while on the other 60% you may drive as fast as traffic permits ... until you get stuck in a Stau (traffic jam). The adversaries argue that while the motor is idling the CO2 emission is bigger than when driving more than 130 km/h on stretches with only minor traffic.
*Being an old man I only drive about 3000 miles in a year covering long distances rather by train at speeds up to 186 mph

Heavy traffic on the Inn-Autobahn. No chance of even driving 130 km/h (©dpa)
Red Baron has driving experience on motorways in France, Italy, Switzerland, and the US. I always enjoyed the stress-less driving when all vehicles move at a moderate but synchronized speed. In those countries, neither gas is wasted nor CO2 emitted by useless acceleration and braking as on German autobahns where a few people drive hard to gain a couple of minutes going from A to B.

Yesterday the Federal Government decided that free citizens will keep their free speed.

I rather think, "It is high time that Germany’s holy cow is slaughtered."

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