Several German states are sounding the alarm to improve traffic safety on the busy A2 highway from the Ruhr region through Westphalia and Lower Saxony toward Berlin. Lower Saxony launched a round table a year ago to reduce the number of accidents, Saxony-Anhalt followed suit in March, and the police in Westphalia are also trying to reduce the number of pile-ups, often involving trucks. Ausloser are besides the many traffic mostly road works, too little distance and inattention.
Based purely on accident figures, the round table initiated by Lower Saxony’s Transport Minister Olaf Lies (SPD) with representatives of the police, traffic watchdogs, the transport industry and the German Automobile Club (ADAC) has not yet had any resounding success. In the Lower Saxony section of the east-west axis, the number of accidents rose to 3516 in 2016 after 3447 in the previous year; in 2014 there were 3040 accidents, in 2011 there were 2807. The number of people seriously injured rose to 81 in 2016 after 73 in the previous year. 17 people died, 2 more than the year before. In the process, Lies had ordered speed 60 for trucks in rough construction sites, as well as extensive checks on the safety distance.
"To be honest, nothing has changed on the A2: We have traffic jams, we have accidents," says Christine Rettig, spokeswoman for the ADAC in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. "The problem is, we have too much traffic, too many trucks."Accidents occur especially at construction sites, where there is no sign of improved traffic management. The behavior of drivers must also change: "Awareness can only change through high control prere, a few posters are not enough."The motifs, which also warn in Polish and Russian against too little distance, are quite something: they show a completely crushed driver’s cabin.
"We need more and stricter checks to see if truck drivers are breaking traffic laws and failing to keep safe distances, overtaking riskily or being distracted by what’s happening on busy roads," Saxony-Anhalt Transport Minister Thomas Webel (CDU) said briefly at the launch of a roundtable on "Avoiding Truck Accidents.". Accident researchers, truck safety engineers, representatives from ADAC and the state road construction authority, as well as the head of the transport trade association discussed with the minister.
"What always prints us are the construction sites," says Braunschweig police spokesman Wolfgang Klages. As soon as work is done on the A2, the accident statistics are gone. Trucks are involved in about half of the serious pile-ups. On the busiest sections, up to 130,000 vehicles are on the road every day.000 vehicles a day, a third of which are trucks. "Things change when the economy changes."However, the introduction of variable speed limits and other measures are proving successful, at least on the Braunschweig section of the A2. "Since 2002, we have seen a continuous decline in the number of accidents."
According to Michael Kotter, spokesman for the Bielefeld Police Department, the problem with the A2 in eastern Westphalia is the winding route through the low mountain range with uphill and downhill stretches combined with high traffic volumes. "We have followed suit and selectively designated or extended speed-120 ranges."In addition, there are constant speed controls on the section. 51 people were seriously injured and five killed on the A2 from the Lower Saxony border to Oelde last year. Police try to convey more sensitivity at truck driver regulars’ meetings at rest stops, he said. "The response is not necessarily very high."
The Lower Saxony Transport Association (GVN) is calling for an eight-lane expansion of the A2 in Lower Saxony and construction of the A39 between Luneburg and Wolfsburg. The mega-hub in Lehrte, which had been planned for years to transfer goods from road to rail, was also able to defuse the situation. In order to increase safety, it is necessary to prohibit the deactivation of the emergency brake assistant in trucks as soon as possible. And: "Typing time bombs need to be taken out of circulation," says GVN CEO Benjamin Sokolovic. And he is referring to drivers who are increasingly distracted by smartphones or tablets on the A2 and thus cause accidents.