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by Tim Beissmann

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.




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