Currently only about 40 percent of the 12 800km of autobahn in Germany have speed limits. File picture: Michael Probst.

BERLIN - Germany’s network of unrestricted highways is one of the many things that makes the country a mecca for petrolheads. 

But high speed runs on the autobahn, as the system of roads is commonly known, almost became a chapter in automotive history recently when the Green Party tried to push a proposal through parliament that would have imposed a speed limit of 130km/h across the entire network.

According to, Germany’s parliament last week voted against the proposal, with an overwhelming majority of 498 votes against 133. Those in favour had said the speed limit would improve safety as well as traffic flow, while reducing pollution.

Currently about 40 percent of the autobahn is believed to have speed limits, although some of these are only temporary, or weather dependent. What you’ll notice in Germany is that the sections of highway running through cities and other urban stretches tend to have speed limits, which makes perfect sense from a safety perspective, while quieter sections in the countryside tend to be derestricted. 

This is not the first time that the lack of speed limits on German highways has become a political hot potato.

As far back as 2013, Germany’s Social Democratic Party threatened to impose a 120km/h limit on the network if it won the election, which it certainly didn’t, while back then the Greens were even mooting an 80km/h limit. 

But just how long will Germany’s speed sanctuaries last in a world where driving liberties are coming under increasing threat? Only time will tell, but you might want to move Germany’s autobahns a notch or two ahead on your petrol-head bucket list.

IOL Motoring