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End of the autobahn? EU ponders compulsory speed limiters on cars

Published time: December 01, 2013 15:21

AFP Photo / Johannes Eisele

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The European Commission is looking into the possibility of fitting all the cars in the EU with compulsory speed limiters. The idea is very unwelcome in Germany, home of the autobahn and high-performance car producers, RT’s Peter Oliver reports.

The European Commission’s proposal would see both old and new cars in the 28-member states equipped with a device that automatically applies the brakes whenever a car exceeds a speed of around 115 kph. The idea is to increase highway safety. 30,000 people die every year on Europe's roads.

A decision on whether to move ahead with the idea is expected in the New Year. It will hardly enjoy popular support, judging by what German drivers told RT’s Peter Oliver.

The whole reason we built beautiful roads was to drive them properly,” one of Oliver’s respondents said, referring to German autobahns, which are renowned for having no speed limits.

As for car manufacturers, they doubt that compulsory speed limiters would effective in guaranteeing road safety. 

We think, and the statistics show major accidents, from a numbers point of view, are not on the autobahn, but on minor roads that are already [speed] limited. And, for some, it’s a clear indicator of The European Commission overtaking what should be national matters,” Achim Schneider of Porsche’s Corporate Communications told RT.
Analysts believe it's going to be tough for the EU to convince the German people that their speed should be in the hands of Brussels.

The problem at the moment is that many of these decisions are being made by the commission and are not subject to democratic accountability in parliament. That is the source of frustration in countries,” Trevor Evans, an economist, told RT. 

For more on the story, watch RT’s Peter Oliver and his report from Germany.

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