Quick question: What’s the speed limit on freeways where you live? Well, you might not be able to recall the exact number, but you probably know there are speed limits on most roads. Any guess what the speed limit is on German freeways (also known as the Autobahn)? It depends. You see, the general guideline is about eighty-five miles per hour, but there are plenty of sections on German freeways that are considered free of … well, speed limits. And if you stuck to the suggested speed limit of eighty-five miles an hour, you might notice cars speeding past you without a care (and without being caught by the highway patrol).
When Germany first established its freeway system, the country considered itself the “auto capital of the world,” and its freeways came to represent freedom and strength. As Germany became one of the top car manufacturers in the world, the Autobahn was a source of great pride as citizens drove by at high speeds. However, current concerns about pollution and especially carbon emissions have given renewed fuel to the idea of speed limits on the Autobahn. A proposal to impose speed limits, initiated by a government-backed commission, didn’t go over well, causing thousands of drivers across the country to protest and push back on the idea.
With over fifty percent of the German population rejecting the idea of speed limits, this law might never see the light of day. But who’s to say another minister won’t try again?
What’s an old rule in your school or community that might need some updating for the people of today?