The future of Germany’s derestricted autobahns could be at risk, with the leader of the country’s opposition party in support of a 120km/h limit across the high-speed motorway network.

SPD party leader Sigmar Gabriel cites crash statistics that show a lower number of serious injuries and deaths on speed-limited highways as the reasoning for his stance.

While SPD has made no formal policy announcement at this stage, UK publication Autocar reports the party plans to consult with local councils about restricting the speed permitted on autobahns.

Germany’s automobile organisation, ADAC, has defended the country’s unrestricted autobahns, however, labelling Gabriel’s suggestion “unsustainable”.

ADAC spokesman Andreas Holzel told Germany’s Bild newspaper that the autobahns were safe roads that, despite being used for one-third of the country’s road trips, accounted for just 11 per cent of its serious injuries and deaths in 2012.

Currently about 40 per cent of the nation’s autobahns have a temporary or permanent 130km/h limit. The same speed is used as the recommended limit on derestricted roads.

ADAC has rather thrown its support behind introducing roundabouts to dangerous intersections and additional passing lanes on minor roads, referring to statistics that show 60 per cent of deaths on Germany’s road network occur on country roads.

The news comes as Fairfax reports the Northern Territory is considering reinstating open speed limits on some of its highways after 130km/h limits introduced in 2006 failed to have a positive impact on the road toll.




  • Sonic

    Nooo! I haven’t even had the chance to use the Autobahn yet.
    I’m sure it won’t happen anytime soon though… There are too many positives, and cars are getting smarter and safer.

  • Zaccy16

    lets hope the opposition party doesn’t get in because the only destination where i want to go in germany is the autobahns! hopefully the unrestrict the roads in NT

    • MisterZed

      Unlimited speed in NT – great idea. I’d love to be doing 200 kph when a kangaroo decides to cross the road.

  • Brett

    Go the NT! After living here for some time, I can say that 99% of people don’t even do 130kph because of various reasons, mainly though, because fuel is so expensive. However for some of us that fatigue easily, myself, cruising accross the Territory at good speed is brilliant and accomplishing. Katherine to Mt Isa within daylight hours is far safer than trying to push all day and into the night.

  • Ted

    If this proposition ever passes.
    I will book a flight to Berlin, and single handedly slap everone in the face that contributed to this.

    • al

      Hahaha….it’s been tried before and won’t get in.
      We Germans love our cars and our high speeds.
      This guy has no hard facts to back his proposals….political suicide.

      • docmartin

        In the US, we are “allowed” to go ’10 over posted’ (in MILES), and some states have 110 mph limit. Here in Oz,I keep hearing “go 10 under” to prevent getting ticketed, and that’s 80 kph in VIC.

        Why is speed so micro managed in Aus? There are bad drivers ANYWHERE….but why punish the VAST MAJORITY of responsible drivers?

  • nick

    Don’t worry, I hear the current ruling party and Merkel are extremely popular in Germany.

  • MisterZed

    I can’t believe how wide their lanes are compared to our tiny little freeways.

    • kf

      if our lanes were that wide there’d be no problem with right lane hoggers, just overtake in between the cars!!!

    • docmartin

      That;s another thing I noticed here: tight roads and even tighter parking spaces. It doesnt make sense. Australia is basically AS BIG as America – with only 1/20th of our population. There is absolutely NO REASON to skimp on space. There is more than enough land to go around for everybody. But I think the old city planners – being Europeans – were so used to European standards (read: tight spacing) – whihc makes IN EUROPE. but NOT in huge, wide Australia.

      ATTN: younger generation of city planners. Travel to America(WEST, not East coast)….and pattern your freeways and parking space sizes from theirs. You HAVE the land, USE it.

      • MisterZed

        The strange thing is, the oldest roads in Melbourne are also the widest. Look at St. Kilda Road, or Bridge Rd, Richmond. In the outer suburbs, the new main roads are only 2 lanes wide, and the residential streets are so narrow that you can’t park a car on both sides.

        • F1orce

          Yeah exact same issue as Sydney.

          The old roads are narrow already. But the newer neighborhoods are that narrow that its impossible for 2 cars to travel in the opposite direction and you cannot park on the road.

      • F1orce

        Yeah I’ve been to California and the roads and infratsrcuture is very well done.

        Massive roads, no stress, aesthetically designed boulevards, big freeway on ramps, interconnected freeways everywhere etc

        When you get onto a freeway (higway/motorway) you don’t need to merge, and the freeway on ramps go for a very long distance that its safe on freeways that require merging and the freeways over there are like 9-10 lanes each way! Crazy!

        And the residential streets are good also, you don’t see trucks everywhere like you do in Sydney, and all of the residential streets are also very broad, multi-lanes and easy to drive in. Unlike the insanely narrow ziggy zag streets of Sydney.

        Seriously its getting quite out of whack in Sydney.

  • JamesB

    Is Sigmar Gabriel born in Sydney or Melbourne by any chance?

  • Hellbuster

    That’s why he’ll always be the opposition leader.

  • Jacob

    NT with unlimited speed limits used to get car testing jobs, coz companies used to bring cars there from around the world to test.

    Then the 130km/h limit came along, and those jobs disappeared.