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Opinion: What Robert Habeck is Right About

Even the German Greens are right about things. For decades, they have advocated a speed limit on the Autobahn. That step is overdue.

In the 1970-s, the Greens and their predecessors said nuclear power plants were dangerous. Today, even many conservatives agree. For a long time, they fought for the environment. Today, even the Bavarian CSU is trying to be greener than grass, cucumbers, Kermit the Frog and the Greens combined.

Restriction of Civil Liberties?

For decades, the Greens in the Federal Republic have demanded a speed limit on the Autobahn. When they were part of the government with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from 1998 to 2005, they failed to push it through. A mistake, because they were always right about this subject, and still are.

In an interview with the German-language publication The Pioneer, Robert Habeck, one of the Greens’ two leaders, just said his party would introduce an Autobahn speed limit of 130 km/h (81 mph) once it was part of the federal government.

Racing on the Autobahn does not make sense. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

The argument against any such measure usually cited by conservatives and the German Liberals is that civil liberties would be restricted. This sounded even more ridiculous in the Corona crisis than before, Habeck stated in that interview. Right again.

Why should there be a speed limit right now?

  • Even though the number of road deaths keeps on decreasing in Germany, an Autobahn speed limit would save lives.
  • It would decrease the CO2 and particulate matter emissions to some extent and help Germany in its quest to reach its climate goals by 2030.
  • In the age of electric mobility, which by the way should be pushed more in Germany, racing down the Autobahn does not make sense at all. It sucks batteries dry rather quickly.
  • Adapting to the regulations in all other countries in the world, and especially in Germany’s E.U. partner states, in this regard makes a lot of sense too.

What are we waiting for?

Even the General German Automobile Association does not oppose an Autobahn speed limit anymore. There is a majority for that step in the country.

This is not about right and left, but right and wrong. Everyone knows the speed limit will be coming. It should be pushed through yesterday.