Germany’s speed-unrestricted autobahn occupies a special place in the mind of most auto enthusiasts—and much of the German populace, as well. But of course, not everyone is a fan. One of those opponents with the power to enforce his will is the traffic minister for the state of Baden-Württemberg—home of Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi’s Quattro GmbH, and auto supplier Bosch. And that state is now planning to impose a new 75-mph speed limit on further portions of its autobahn network.
Winfried “Winne” Hermann at work.
Winfried “Winne” Hermann with his preferred mode of transport.
Traffic minister Winfried “Winne” Hermann of the Green Party says that the additional speed limits are a “trial”—which he intends to hold for a whopping four years. And he has selected stretches that are representative of large portions of the German network, with the intention of using the findings to call for a general speed limit in Germany. The move has garnered a lot of attention in the German media.
The changes, planned to take place next May, affect another 10 percent of Baden-Württemberg’s network, which is already partially regulated. In Germany as a whole, about 30 percent of the autobahn is speed-limited; the figure in Baden-Württemberg is similar.
The German auto industry is alarmed, as the reputation of German cars relies strongly on their autobahn-bred engineering. Designed to travel at triple-digit speeds all day, they emphasize performance, durability, and high-speed stability.
An attempt in 2013 by Germany’s Green Party to float the idea of a national 75-mph speed limit went nowhere; here’s hoping that the latest ministrations meet a similar end.