The Autobahn Remains Speed Limit-Free After German Parliament Vote

The Green Party campaigned for an 80 mph speed limit

  • The German Bundestag voted against Autobahn speed limits, 498 – 126.
  • Germany’s Green Party had campaigned for a blanket 81 mph speed limit.
  • Accident rates on the Autobahn are among the lowest in the world.

The German Autobahn remains a refuse for speed enthusiasts after the Bundestag voted down new speed limits Friday. Germany’s parliament overwhelmingly voted against a campaign by the Green Party that would have brought about a blanket 81 mph (130 km/h) speed limit on the entire Autobahn network. If it had passed, the unrestricted sections — the only place in the world where you can legally drive any speed you like — would have been gone forever.

A total of 498 members of Germany’s parliament voted against the motion. 126 voted in favor, with seven abstentions.

At the moment, about one-third of the Autobahn network is permanently speed-restricted. Other sections can have temporary speed limits imposed through electronic signs due to inclement weather or traffic conditions. The Green Party’s contentious proposal argued a speed limit was necessary to promote safety and help the environment. However, many oppose the idea, including the German transportation minister, who said the idea “goes against all common sense.”

Most other European countries post speed limits somewhere in the 70 – 80 mph range. Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France and the Netherlands all have a blanket 81 mph speed limit. Belgium and Switzerland have a 75 mph limit.