(Reddy) Germany's autobahn is free of speed limits for most of its 12,000 km. The Germans' pride in their free-speed autobahn is wellknown. The autobahn was in the news recently when Greenpeace ctivists put up banners that read "120", demanding a speed limit of 120 km/h on the Autobahn.
But the powerful German car makers' lobby disagrees. Car manufacturers argue that emissions from cars are already very low. Limiting the speed has no additional benefit, they say. One car maker went as far as to say that the idea of speed limits was like "hitting the automobile industry between its legs!" (Connolly) This is not surprising, since car manufacturers promote their products as macho machines. Reckless speed is equated to manliness. Their stance that emissions from cars are low does not address the safety issue or the fuel wastage. Predictably, politicians are on the back foot - unpopular decisions are best postponed indefinetely. The public mood in Germany is also said to be one of "anger" - anger at the perceived erosion of their freedom.
A strong, sustained campaign targeted at the grass roots is the need of the hour.