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Page last updated at 10:14 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 11:14 UK

German state in speed limit debut

German Autobahn traffic
In practice German drivers often have to slow down on motorways

The northern state of Bremen has become the first in Germany to impose a speed limit on its motorways.

The 120km/h (75mph) limit announced on Wednesday will only apply to a 60km (40-mile) stretch of motorway or Autobahn, all that the small state has.

Bremen's environment minister Reinhard Loske called it "a good day for traffic safety and a signal about protecting the environment and climate".

Germany's powerful car industry opposes any speed limit on motorways.

The carmakers have the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who rejected a call from her Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners last year for a motorway speed limit.

Mr Loske, a Green Party politician, said he would start talks with ministers in other states on introducing a national speed limit.

The SPD wants a 130km/h (80mph) speed limit to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlike its EU neighbours, Germany applies motorway speed restrictions only in traffic bottlenecks, near roadworks or at junctions.

German car firms such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen take pride in their high-performance models, seen as symbols of the German export boom.




SEE ALSO
Merkel resists speed limit push
29 Oct 07 |  Europe
Carmakers laud emission reductions
14 Oct 07 |  Business
Country profile: Germany
18 Sep 07 |  Country profiles

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