Germany's Merkel against speed limit

Other News Materials 29 October 2007 09:15

( AP ) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday her government would not try to introduce a speed limit on freeways, despite a proposal from her coalition's junior party.

Many stretches of Germany's famed freeways, the autobahn, have no speed limits - traditionally a cherished freedom in a rule-bound country.

Members of the center-left Social Democratic Party, who along with Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union make up the governing coalition, backed a proposal over the weekend to introduce a general speed limit of 80 mph on the autobahn.

"It won't happen with me," Merkel said in an interview to be aired Monday on state-run ZDF television station.

The current surge in concern over carbon dioxide emissions has put the no-speed limit tradition under renewed scrutiny. Earlier this year, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas suggested introducing a speed limit, drawing a cool response from Berlin.

Merkel suggested that better traffic management systems would be a more effective way of preventing excessive emissions on the freeways, saying the miles-long traffic jams that often clog the autobahn are equally detrimental to the environment as high-speed driving.