Germany has two of Europe’s meccas for motor enthusiasts. One is the Green Hell, the mythical track of more than 20 kilometers named after the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The second is the Autobahn, the German highways where there is no speed limit. Sure?
at 417km/h. That is the top speed reached last July 2021 by Radim Passer, a Czech millionaire, aboard his Bugatti Chiron. The dizzying figure was achieved on a German Autobahn and it became known because, as with many other cars, Passer uploaded the video to YouTube.
The millionaire has a channel, with more than 22,000 subscribers, where he tests many vehicles and shows how they are handled. But among the most celebrated videos of him is the video of the controversy. With more than 11 million views, Passer jumped into the public debate.
Have a nice day. To the further annoyance of his detractors, at the end of the video the Bugatti’s spoiler was unfolded and, recorded in a rear shot, this inscription could be read. For some, the image was an offense and one more reason to point out the irresponsibility of Passer, who had circulated in open traffic above 400 km/h.
Maximum security. The video did not take long to go viral and the German government did not take long to take a position. In a statement he stressed that all drivers “must conduct themselves in such a way that no other person is harmed, endangered, obstructed or annoyed more than is unavoidable under the circumstances.” And he stressed that justice would study if any infraction had been committed.
Passer, however, was already putting on the bandage before the injury. In the description of the video he pointed out that the recording had been made first thing in the morning, with the first hours of sun, to have light and, at the same time, the least possible traffic. The section of road does not have a maximum speed limit and does have three lanes, a long straight line of 10 kilometers and a small descent that guaranteed wide visibility at any time.
no punishment. Now we have learned that the German justice considers the case closed without having filed any charges against the millionaire. ABC collects that the prosecution has dismissed possible actions considering that at no time was an irregularity committed, since the rest of the drivers were not endangered.
The exeption. The German Autobahns are the great European exception. Although not all of them, a large part of them do not have a speed limit. In fact, Germany has some 13,000 kilometers under the name of Autobahn, of which approximately 40% have a speed limit of 130 km/h. That is, about 5,200 kilometers lack it.
These large roads without speed limits are spaces where safety is considered to be guaranteed, they are far from large urban centers and have rules that the Germans take very seriously. The spaces without speed limits are signposted at their entrance and exit but there are dynamic signs that restrict speed to a maximum of between 80 km/h and 130 km/h when it rains, traffic is heavy or after dark.
Behavior. In order for there to be no maximum speed limit on an Autobahn, it is essential that drivers comply with the rules to the letter. Overtaking on the right is prohibited and carries heavy fines. You can only drive on the left if you are the fastest vehicle and, if another car is faster, it is mandatory to withdraw and give way.
to debate. However, this could change in the future. Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor, included in his program the limitation of all expressways to a maximum of 130 km/h. His main argument is that with this limitation, accidents on the roads will be reduced and, in addition, the environment will be protected, with a reduction in polluting emissions.
Since then, the voices for and against have followed one another. A survey by ADAC, one of the most important drivers’ associations in Germany, found that 45% of the participants were against the ban, 50% did see it favorably. And the remaining 5% would be made up of the undecided. The question is recurring and the speed limitation has not won in the survey since 1993.
Not relevant. On the contrary, those who assure that the speed limit is not necessary point out that this new norm is not necessary, since most drivers already move at the speeds contemplated. A study by the German Institute for Economics (IW) in Cologne indicates that only 2% of drivers on an Autobahn travel above 160 km/h. And 77% of them do so below 130 km/h.
Those who are in favor of this option stress, therefore, that the environmental result would be very limited. In fact, the German Federal Climate Agency estimates that the country could save each year at two million tons of CO2. In Germany, however, 65,325 megatons of CO2 were recorded in 2020. The limitation, therefore, would have a saving of 0.003% in total emissions.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism