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No speed limit in Germany

In Spain it has just been passed, in France the measure has existed for a long time: 30 km/h speed limit in cities and villages. Speed limits can significantly reduce the number of traffic fatalities and air pollution. The WHO is also in favour of it. In Germany, the idea falls on deaf ears.

Against the backdrop of the United Nations Road Safety Week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has come out clearly in favour of a speed limit of 30 km/h in built-up areas. In towns and villages, this could prevent a large number of road deaths.

In France, the speed limit has already been in place in 200 cities since last year. There, the measure has led to a 70% reduction in accident fatalities. Spain introduced the speed reduction last week with immediate effect.

In Germany, the federal government had actually set itself the goal of reducing the number of fatal road accidents by 40% by 2020 with its "Vision Zero" plan, but only achieved 25%. This road safety programme has now expired. In the new plan for the period 2021 to 2030, an inner-city speed limit of 30 km/h is not even mentioned, despite the clear successes in France.

So, once again, the German government does not dare to approach motorists. Any bans or restrictions related to the subject in the motorist republic do not even seem to be considered by the government. So it is with the lax rules of the environmental zones, the years-long dispute over diesel driving bans, the non-introduction of the Blue Sticker, the abolition of eco-lanes, with the speed limit on motorways and with car-free zones. The list goes on and on.

But the 30 km/h speed limit could kill several birds with one stone. According to Jürgen Resch, the national director of Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), the speed limit would not only reduce traffic fatalities, but also noise pollution and air pollution. In this way, the quality of life in towns and villages could be significantly improved.

According to Resch, it is rather unlikely that Transport Minister Scheuer will agree to a speed limit. German Environmental Aid is therefore hoping that the Greens will join the new coalition in September. This would then have to get the speed limit for the health of citizens and the environment underway as quickly as possible.

Otherwise, other measures might have to be taken to make the roads safer and also cleaner, for example a tightening of the environmental zones or the introduction of car-free inner cities. Speed limits would certainly be the lesser evil for many drivers.