The Federal Constitutional Court has dismissed a constitutional complaint for a general speed limit on motorways as inadmissible. The two plaintiffs, a man and a woman, believe that the legislator is violating the climate protection requirement and civil liberties by not introducing a speed limit. The highest German court in Karlsruhe announced on Tuesday that they did not justify this sufficiently. (Az. 1 BvR 2146/22)
A speed limit, which as a result of the Ukraine war also came into focus as an opportunity to save energy, has been the subject of repeated arguments for years. In the traffic light coalition, the FDP opposes this. An introduction is therefore not agreed in the coalition agreement. In many other European countries, the maximum speed you can drive on motorways is 130 or 120 kilometers per hour.
In the spring of 2021, the constitutional judges laid down in a sensational decision that climate protection is also a question of intergenerational justice: If politicians act too hesitantly today, this will be at the expense of the freedom of young people, who will then have to restrict themselves even more later.
Why a speed limit?
The competent chamber of the First Senate has now announced that the climate protection requirement in the Basic Law will continue to gain relative weight as climate change progresses. This also has an impact on the legislature's weighing decisions. However, the complainants did not provide any more detailed evidence that there would be considerable restrictions on freedom in the transport sector at the end of the decade because the emissions permitted in this area were currently being used up too quickly. It is also not clear why further savings would have to be achieved through a speed limit.
According to calculations by the Federal Environment Agency from 2021, a nationwide general speed limit of 120 km/h on motorways would reduce total CO2 emissions from cars and light commercial vehicles by around 2.7 percent. At 100 km/h, the reduction would even be 5.7 percent. The number of road deaths and noise would also be significantly reduced. Almost two-thirds of Germans are in favor of speed limits on motorways.