Autobahn speed

Speed Doesn’t Kill

This year’s road fatalities statistic is out: Germany suffered just 3,606 traffic fatalities in 2012—the fewest ever since record-keeping on the subject began. That’s less than 10 per day, and only 44 deaths per one million inhabitants. In the U.S. in 2011, that number was 104 per inhabitant. The discrepancy is more impressive given that Germany is a transit country, with vast numbers of vehicles passing through from other countries, and there’s a large number of bikes sharing the roads with cars and trucks.

A number of factors are responsible for the low number of deaths, including rigid driver training and scheduled vehicle checks every two years. Here’s another reason: Significant portions of our freeway system, the famous autobahn, are without any speed limit. You are free to travel at any speed you desire, as long as you keep everybody else’s space and your distance. It might sound counter-intuitive, but the high speeds keep drivers awake and alert. Fumbling with your smart phone, food, or a hot cappucchino is low on the priority pole when traveling on the autobahn.

By Jens Meiners