The Annual Speed Test

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on April 18, 2015 in News & Opinion |

The third Germany-wide ‘blitz marathon’ provided an extremely high number of motorists with a photograph that they will prize for a long time to come, even though none of them wished for such an image. Across the entire country an army of police officers – over ten thousand according to some reports – manned the speed cameras and positioned themselves in front of schools, on streets where a certain speed limit is set but regularly ignored, and in areas with a high rate of traffic accidents. The number of over-the-limit drivers caught is something of a surprise, since the action was well publicized in advance, right down to the streets which would be covered.

Photo Source: Robert Weller – Creative Commons

Following a court action several years ago, it is now allowed for the media to publish exactly where a mobile speed trap is working, and some radio stations have regular updates to warn drivers well in advance. Even so, in Lower Saxony alone over five thousand motorists were caught out, and now have the pleasure of opening their post in the next few days and either forking out a number of bills or, in some cases, forking out the bills, adding points to their record and losing their license for up to three months. From the 184,000 cars checked, 2.8% were driving too fast, a drop in numbers from last year where the total was 3.5%. Of these over ninety have the pleasure of giving up their license.

Does this ‘blitz marathon’ make any real difference, aside from emptying a few bank accounts? The police swear by it, but also note that, after a speed trap has been passed, many drivers speed up once more, the danger, as they see it, now behind them.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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  • chris says:

    Just as for a U.S: citizen it is a God-given right, or at least a constitutionally given right, to bear firearms, so the average German (male?) is not prepared to see his natural right impinged upon, to drive his car at breakneck speed whenever he has the opportunity. As the yellow automobile club would phrase it, “Freie Fahrt für freie Raser!” – well almost anyway.

    • I fear that there is a slight difference between the Right of an American to bear arms – Constitutional – and speeding through an area where the legal limit is 30, 50 or 70. Having said that, there are many, many Germans (male? Not necessarily) who believe it is their right to do so because of the car they drive, or their age, or their driving qualifications. Much the same as there are many Germans (female? Not necessarily) who believe that they have the Right to take up two or even four parking spaces in front of the supermarket on the busiest day of the week…

      • chris says:

        Of course you’re correct. It would have been clearer had I written’whenever he has the “legal” opportunity’. They tend to overdo it, whenever they have the chance and apply the ‘leaden foot’ (Bleifuß) to the accelerator. As for parking, it’s often just a case of a driver basing his selection of a parking place on the British adage “I’m alright, Jack!” If you are not familiar with this, there is an unspoken phrase, “F*** you!” at the beginning.

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