Austria: Experts advise lowering street speeds

Recently, the findings of a poll that was deemed to be reasonably reliable revealed that the majority of Austrians oppose reducing the motorway speed limit from 130 to 100. Even if the majority is made up of firmly convinced Democrats, the question of whether the majority’s perspective is necessarily what is best for society can be raised. If a poll were to ask, for instance, whether the state should provide free schnitzel and beer on Fridays after work, the answer would indeed receive a majority. But everyone who refused the schnitzel and didn’t drink beer was left out and would be responsible for the expenses. Similar to the speed limit, individuals who choose to drive slowly and those who do so appear foolish because both may have similar effects on safety risks and environmental harm.

Nonetheless, the attitude could be more understandable when travelling to Austria from the neighbouring Republic of Germany, which could be more reasonable regarding speed limit difficulties. The Air Pollution Control Act, or IGL for short, mandates a 100 kph maximum limit on the Inntal autobahn. The ferocious political factions in the National Council, led by the FP, may even have the sympathy of anyone who has ever travelled the open route between the Rofan Mountains and the Zillertal. They want to exterminate every wolf as a matter of homeland security due to their threat to people and other alpine creatures. Still, they have already argued for raising the top speed limit on the autobahns in their country through the person of former FP Transport Minister Norbert Hofer.

Naturally, upon closer examination, this is likewise wholly illogical. A group of traffic specialists recently demanded a speed limit decrease on Austria’s highways in an open letter: 100 on motorways, 80 on open roads, and 30 in towns. Expert groups are sometimes something of the antithesis to the mainstream opinion and are typically great believers of ratios. This has a lot of benefits. By doing this, 900,000 tons of fossil fuel would be saved, and 2.4 million tons less CO2 would be released into the atmosphere due to traffic. Also, 116 fatalities and close to 7,000 injuries due to traffic accidents would not have occurred. There isn’t a strong case against a reduced speed restriction.

You might have to view the cancellation of the GTI meeting in Reifnitz am Wörthersee this year as a positive as a traffic expert. The event does not fit into the community development plan “Reifnitz 2030 – Sustainable living at the lake,” according to information provided to the media by the municipality of Maria Wörth. It’s time for a survey because most people believe it to be there.

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