Speed ​​limit on motorways after exploratory talks off the table

The SPD, FDP and Alliance 90 / Greens want to be prospective partners in a new federal government no general speed limit on German autobahns. That is the result of successful Exploratory talks after the federal election in 2021, which is now in concrete negotiations for a so-called Traffic light coalition pass over.

Habeck: “We couldn’t enforce the speed limit”

“We want to make Germany the lead market for electromobility and therefore massively accelerate the expansion of the charging station infrastructure. There will be no general speed limit,” it says in one common paper, which was presented by the party leaders on October 15, 2021. Green co-boss Robert Habeck said it was a matter of creating clarity: “We could not enforce the speed limit. We are very satisfied in other areas.”

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For decades there has been a general speed limit heavily debated. Proponents argue with that Traffic safety and with that Climate protection, the opponents speak of “Symbol politics“Now a speed limit seems to be off the table for at least the next four years.
Logos of the SPD, Greens and FDP in front of the Bundestag

According to a joint decision, the SPD, Greens and FDP do not want a general speed limit on motorways for the time being.

Greens wanted the speed limit the most

In the election manifesto of the Greens the word speed limit was avoided as much as possible, instead it was said: “We want a safety speed of 130 km / h for the motorways. If special reasons make it necessary (…), then a maximum of 120 km / h applies.” The aim is “Vision Zero, ie no more dead and seriously injured people in traffic”. To this end, the Greens also want to make it easier for local authorities, in built-up areas Tempo 30 to be introducedby reversing the rule-to-exception ratio of 30 and 50 km / h. Cem Özdemir, a member of the expanded exploratory team of the Greens, saw in an “FAZ” interview a realistic chance for a speed limit, while parliamentary group leader Anton Hofreiter indicated that he was willing to discuss the issue.
Also to the Advocates a general speed limit on motorways belongs to the SPD. The Social Democrats favored it in their election manifesto 130 km / h. That would protect the environment and significantly reduce the number of accidents. Also the left propagated Speed ​​limitsto protect people and the climate. But they do not play a role in the formation of a government. “120 km / h on motorways, 80 km / h on country roads, in urban areas 30 km / h as the standard speed,” said the party’s election manifesto.
Press conference after exploratory talks

The party leaders Habeck, Baerbock (Greens), Scholz (SPD) and Lindner (FDP; from left) announce the results of the explorations.

FDP, Union and AfD against a speed limit

Just underlined just before the election FDP leader Christian Lindnerthat he wants to rely on appeals to renounce climate protection rather than bans. Specifically, he referred to the speed limit of 130 km / h as the maximum speed on the autobahn: Such a ban was “out of place”. Even after the election there is and will remain a general speed limit as mentioned “symbolic politics”. In its election manifesto, the pleaded FDP for free travel. Speed ​​limits, diesel or motorcycle driving bans are “neither progressive nor sustainable,” it says. When it comes to climate protection, the Free Democrats rely entirely on the regulatory effect of CO2 trading, through which “environmentally and climate-friendly engines and alternative fuels would prevail”.
As a general rule against a speed limit is and was also that union. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) called the demand for Tempo 130 a “political instrument of war” and a “fetish” Traffic control. “
Andreas Scheuer

Transport Minister Scheuer is strictly against a speed limit on German motorways.

the AfD after all, it categorically rejects a maximum speed on motorways. Even more: “Rigid speed limits must be checked regularly and dropped if they are unfounded,” was a demand in their election manifesto.

Election programs of the parties on the subject of speed limit

What is in the Union’s electoral manifesto?


“We reject a diesel driving ban as well as a general speed limit on motorways. Instead, we rely on innovative, modern traffic control.”

What does the SPD say about the speed limit?


“We will introduce a speed limit of 130 km / h on federal motorways. This will protect the environment and significantly reduce the number of accidents. In addition, we will advance research, development and pilot projects so that ships, aircraft and trucks no longer emit climate-damaging CO2. We combine that with Projects to build an environmentally friendly hydrogen economy. “

What do the Greens want in the speed limit question?


“For the motorways we want a safety speed of 130 km / h. If there are special reasons, such as in and around cities or metropolitan areas, then a maximum of 120 km / h applies.”

What is the FDP’s position on the speed limit on motorways?


“We Free Democrats are against disproportionate bans on mobility. We rely on innovation, reason and freedom. Speed ​​limits, diesel or motorcycle bans are neither progressive nor sustainable.”

What is the left for when it comes to speed limits?


“To protect people and the climate, we finally need speed limits: 120 km / h on motorways, 80 km / h on country roads and a regular speed of 30 km / h in urban areas.”

What does the AfD say?


“The AfD strictly rejects a general speed limit on federal motorways. Rigid speed limits have to be checked regularly and, if they are unfounded, no longer apply. Temporary flexible, situation-appropriate route control systems are the alternative.”

ACE wanted 130 km / h in the coalition agreement

Other opinion leaders had also spoken out on the occasion of the coalition talks. This is what the second largest German automobile club called ACEthat the speed limit of 130 km / h on federal motorways must “be part of the negotiation process Coalition agreement will “. The Nature Conservation Association WWF spoke out in a statement for Tempo 120 on motorways.

Ex-Formula 1 world champion Vettel could live with limits

And even Formula 1 racing drivers Sebastian Vettel was open to a general speed limit. If it helps to save human lives, he can live with it, he told BILD. This is a “no-brainer”, according to the four-time world champion. Saxony-Anhalt CDU parliamentary group leader Siegfried Borgwardt however, stated that Tempo 130 could be “a” solution, but not generally for all routes. There is no reason why he has to drive 130 km / h on an empty motorway at night: “That’s completely crazy.”

The merger wants 120, 80 and 30 km / h

Other proponents of a speed limit such as the German environmental aid (DUH) argue that in order to achieve the climate targets for 2030, massive savings in carbon dioxide (CO2) must be made, especially in transport. Together with the Police Union of North Rhine-Westphalia, to the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD), to the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND) and independent movement Changing Cities the DUH renewed its demands for speed 120 on motorways, a reduction of the maximum speed limit outside of town to 80 km / h and the introduction of a regular speed of 30 km / h in the city center. (Read here what a speed limit of 130 km / h would bring.)

ADAC neutral on the subject of speed limits

Gerhard Hillebrand

According to ADAC traffic president Gerhard Hillebrand, the automobile club is no longer fundamentally against a speed limit.

At the beginning of 2020 the ADAC, with 21 million members an important influencing factor, gave up its decade-long negative attitude. The automobile club was “no longer in principle” against a speed limit, said the ADAC traffic president Gerhard Hillebrand. The discussion is conducted emotionally and polarizes among the members. “That is why the ADAC is currently not committed to the question.” Of the Auto Club Europe (ACE) also speaks for Tempo 130 on motorways the end. The reasons given by Germany’s second largest traffic club are an increase in Traffic safety, reducing the number of dead and seriously injured people Accident victim and a better one Traffic flow.

Free travel on 70 percent of the motorway

On the Most of the highways in Germany currently applies free travel. Are without a speed limit 70 percent of the network. There are permanent or temporary restrictions with signs on 20.8 percent of the network, as official data from the Federal Highway Research Institute for 2015 show. The most common are Tempo 120 (7.8 percent) and Tempo 100 (5.6 percent). There are also variable traffic control displays. In 2019, the statistics collection portal Statista set no general speed limit for around 57 percent of motorway kilometers and a temporary one for 13 percent with roadworks. Regardless of this, one has been recommended for more than 40 years Recommended speed of 130 km / h. If you look at one EU card on, Germany is a White spot – Everywhere else there are general speed restrictions.

Survey: more than half for the speed limit

In the population in this country, a general speed limit on motorways would currently have an absolute majority. In an INSA survey carried out on behalf of BILD am SONNTAG in September 2021, 52 percent of the 1001 respondents are in favor of a general speed limit, 42 percent are against. The answer “don’t know / no answer” accounted for six percent. In a ADAC member survey by 2021, 45 percent voted against a speed limit, 50 percent for it. (Radar detector in comparison)

With material from dpa.

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