Controversial new speed limit on Austrian highways

As of August 1, 2018, Austria will test a much-criticized speed limit of 140km/hour on two sections of highway.

Roxane Seckauer
Roxane Seckauer Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Controversial new speed limit on Austrian highways - NewsMavens
Road. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Transport Minister Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) has implemented a new speed limit of 140km/hour -- instead of 130 -- on two sections of the West Motorway, the second-longest Austrian highway.

The government justified its decision by saying that motorists will be able to reach their destination faster. However, there is little data that supports this -- on test tracks the difference amounted to merely a minute less.

Environmentalists and members of the opposition are unenthusiastic.

"With a speed limit of 140km/hour, we race even faster towards climate disaster," says politcian Bruno Rossmann of Liste Pilz.

He adds that the project is a "populist distraction maneuver" by the government. Adam Pawloff, climate spokesman of the environmental organization Greenpeace, called it "a questionable experiment".

Details from the story:

  • A speed limit of 140 km/hour is rare in Europe. Only in Poland and Bulgaria are such speeds allowed.
  • In Austria and 17 other European countries, the speed limit is 130km/hour on  highways.
  • Calculations by the Federal Highway Research Institute show that the change is unlikely to bring about more accidents.
  • However, the increased speed will emit significantly more pollutants into the air. Particulate matter pollution will increase by 18.6% and nitrogen emissions by 16.4%. CO2 emissions will see a 10.6% increase.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at