ACV calls for study on tree accidents instead of speed limits

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

A speed limit on motorways is demonstrably the wrong way to achieve a significant improvement in accident figures. The number of road deaths in so-called tree accidents on rural roads is a much more pressing problem.

The discussion about a general speed limit also occupied the 58th Traffic Court Day in Goslar (VGT). The president, Professor Ansgar Staudinger, is calling for scientific studies to see what a speed limit would really achieve. ACV considers this approach to be understandable and also sensible from the perspective of lawyers. Otherwise, it will not be possible to make justifiable judgments later on in the event of infringements. But ACV also says: There have been enough figures for a long time that clearly show where we urgently need to start in order to further reduce the number of road deaths. ACV Managing Director Holger Küster explains: "Fatal accidents on country roads are right at the top of the agenda. More people die each year from so-called tree accidents on avenues alone than on all German motorways in total (source: Statistisches Landesämter 2019, table UJ 19 2018). It would be right and important to initiate a large-scale scientific study on a topic like this. The fact that this is not happening shows: The discussion about the speed limit is much too emotional and not objective enough."

In the VGT's working group III on aggressiveness in road traffic, concrete demands for a speed limit were made. However, it quickly became clear that even the legal experts were divided. A clear vote did not come about. Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Research Institute made it clear that speed and aggressiveness are not a question of speed. A speed limit would have no effect at all, at least not in this respect.

180 lives could be saved by increasing the number of people wearing seat belts

ACV points out the urgent and important tasks for a significant improvement in road safety: The sharp increase in the number of accidents involving pedelec riders, the high risk of motorcyclists and, last but not least, the number of fatalities caused by unfastened seat belts. The seat belt alone could save around 180 lives per year (source: UDV, Road Safety Observatory, Federal Statistical Office 2018). ACV therefore calls on the Federal Ministry of Transport and all other parties involved in the VISION ZERO programme to take action: to address the most pressing causes of accidents. A general speed limit on motorways is demonstrably not part of this


Source: ACV Press release of 31 January 2020, available at EAC News, translated by Florian Schmitz, EAC.