As the discussion is currently ongoing in Germany, and I am a petrol head, I have decided to put down a list of all arguments against a general speed limit on German Autobahn. The official number of speed limited Autobahn is about 33% – realistically this is about 45% if you include temporary limits because of weather, road work, etc. – if you even include all regional roads, only 3% of all roads in Germany are unlimited. (source of numbers). Also, the German road traffic laws say that you have always drive in a way that is safe for everyone – which also limits the speeds you should drive.
I am a petrol head and like to drive fast. I also drive a lot and like to come from A to B as quick as possible. So, keep this in mind when reading the following complete list of all arguments against a general speed limit:
That’s it … there are absolutely none where I can think of. In my eyes fake arguments are:
- German Autobahn is the safest in the whole of Europe with the least deadly accidents!
While this might be true, this does not mean, that you can’t make them even safer, saving even more lives. So, if you can make them safer by reducing speeds to 120 to 140km/h, why not?
- You would only save 2% of overall carbon dioxide emissions by reducing speed limits!
Also, this can be true. But, reducing 2% of emissions with nearly no cost and with additional benefits!
- The German Autobahn is a trademark for German cars!
If your only trademark and USP is, that you can drive as quickly as possible on roads most people on earth will never drive on, what’s the point? “Freude am Fahren” also doesn’t mean “drive quick” but have fun to drive a car! Make “Tested on the Nürburgring” would make much more sense. And why would Germany want to be associated with an archaic environmentally nonsense behavior? We should rather be associated with high-tech that helps to save the planet than something else.
- Speed limits limit our personal freedom!
While that is correct, so are all other laws in a country. It forbids you to build houses where you want and how you would want them, it forbids you to drive with worn tires or without a driver’s license and it forbids you to harm other people. In other words: your personal freedom ends, where it can be harmful to others! The harm in the sense of rising road risks or polluting the environment – an environment we all rely on and want to preserve.
Now following is a list of all arguments why a general speed limit makes sense:
- Reduction of pollution: Reducing overall fuel consumption, reduction of CO2 emissions and respirable dust as well as reduction of noise (which as well makes people ill).
- Reduction of cost: A lot of road signs would be obsolete. This would reduce the overcrowded forest of signs in Germany, would make it easier for everyone and would reduce costs significantly. Also, we would not have to set up very expensive electronic adaptive speed signs as many want to have.
- Reduction of deadly or heavy accidents: Speed kills, less speed and especially equal speeds with others make the roads safer. Equal speeds also reduce stress and make driving less tiring – reducing, even more, the risk of accidents.
- Reduction of traffic jams: Equal speeds increase the capacity of roads and help to prevent traffic jams from being caused. So, reducing speeds could help on some occasions to get to your destination quicker!
All in all, a general speed limit would make sense. But please, only because of personal preference: Don’t do it! 😉
Addition to this topic from SPIEGEL (German Language): “Tempolimit spart fast zwei Millionen Tonnen Kohlendioxid ein”