Victoria’s Calder Highway & Hume Freeway and Germany’s Autobahn Motorways: How do they compare?


Victoria’s Calder Highway & Hume Freeway and Germany’s Autobahn Motorways: How do they compare?

Do you ever find yourself questioning the safety of Germany’s Autobahns where speeds are unlimited, in comparison to the most popular regional highways in Victoria; Calder & Hume Freeway? The following case study analyses the crash statistics behind these different approaches to setting speed limits.

Autobahn Motorways, Germany

There is an ongoing debate over the relative safety of Germany’s Autobahns or motorways. About half of the German autobahn motorways do not have a speed limit (but the recommended top speed is 130km/hour), about 15% of autobahns have temporary speed limits due to weather or traffic conditions and about 30% of the autobahn network has permanent speed limits in place.

While there are political figures who claim that drivers take more responsibility on roads with no speed limits, accident statistics show that more lives are lost on autobahns with no speed limits.  There is clear evidence from sections of autobahns on which a speed limit has been introduced that the number of road deaths and injuries decreases. (Pages 3 and 4 of the Autobahn Fact Sheet outline some examples)

Calder Highway & Hume Freeway, Victoria, Australia

Analysis of crash data shows that the Calder Highway and Hume Freeway in Victoria have less injury crashes compared to German autobahns. In terms of the rate of fatalities, the lowest rates of fatalities per billion vehicle kilometres took place on the Calder Highway. The VicRoads Fact Sheet compares the safety of the Calder Highway and the Hume Freeway in Victoria with autobahns in Germany.

The truth about speed…

Extensive research has shown that speed does in fact lead to greater probability and severity of a crash. Especially at high speeds, the smallest increase in speed makes a significant difference between surviving a crash with injuries and losing your life.

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