Contrary to popular belief, there are speed limits on certain sections of Germany’s autobahns. About 60% of autobahns have no speed limits, while in areas where traffic is heavier or near cities the speed limit is set between 95 km/h to 115 km/h.
A 2008 report by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) found that of the 645 road deaths in Germany in 2006, 67% occurred on motorway sections without limits and 33% on stretches with a permanent limit. The fact that 33% of German motorways have a permanent limit and 67% have either a temporary limit or none means that these figures, at first glance, suggest that having a speed limit does not the lower the number of fatalities on motorways. But as ETSC note: ‘this similarity of percentages takes no account of traffic volumes on different sections.’ The report also makes the point that the relationship between speed and road crashes has been studied extensively and is very clear: the higher the speed, the greater the probability of a crash and the severity of the crashes.