MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Dear Mr President! Dear colleagues! Ladies and gentlemen! The aim of the present draft law is to increase road safety and to reduce the number of serious and fatal accidents caused by trucks turning. Ladies and gentlemen, we all share this aim.
The key point is how this goal is implemented. The Greens’ draft goes far too far. Basically, the green want to ban trucks without turning assistants in town. Such a regulation is absolutely disproportionate. In one fell swoop, it would deny numerous road users access to the cities and places. It is questionable whether such a regulation could exist in court. We therefore reject this bill.
The Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Minister Scheuer have taken a different path and have already implemented many measures. And in the Transport Committee of the German Bundestag, too, we have initiated a number of things to avoid turning accidents. You know the points, but I would like to list them again: At EU level, it is thanks to Germany’s initiative that turning assistants will be mandatory for new vehicle types from July 2022 and for new vehicles from July 2024.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU)
I agree with you: that is not enough and it will take a few more years. We as a Union also wanted to achieve more at European level, especially our minister. Unfortunately, we are legally dependent on European regulations for the obligation to equip with turn assistants.
(Oliver Krischer [BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN]: No! – Stefan Gelbhaar [BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN]: That has already been refuted!)
Nevertheless, it was and is clear that we must act. For this reason, Minister Andreas Scheuer launched the Turning Assistant campaign in July 2018, which now includes comprehensive funding for turning assistance systems. In addition, the most recent amendment to road traffic regulations introduced rules to improve the safety of cyclists. Part of the turning assistant campaign are safety partnerships in which companies, municipalities and organizations undertake to retrofit their vehicle fleet with turning assistants and only purchase new vehicles that have the system. There are now 224 security partnerships, and the number is rising. Numerous associations support the campaign and clearly show that the transport industry stands behind the goal of “more traffic safety”.
(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU)
In addition, the purchase of turning assistants is funded by the Ministry of Transport. Funds from two programs were available for this in 2020, on the one hand from the support program for turning assistance systems and on the other hand from the de minimis program for toll road haulage companies. Funds for both programs have been fully used. That means there is great demand from companies.
The willingness of the freight forwarders to retrofit their fleets is enormous. We must not restrict and punish this commitment by the industry with disproportionate entry bans, but rather we should work effectively to continue to support it. That is why we want to use the federal budget in 2021 to increase the funds for both funding programs. For example, the budget for the turning assistance systems funding program is to be increased by 3 million to 12.25 million euros. That corresponds to about 30 percent; that would be a great success. With the previous funds, around 6,000 systems were funded in 2020. We can and want to increase this number in the coming years.
Another measure to improve road safety in the area of turning accidents was the adaptation of the road traffic regulations. According to the law that has been in force since April 28, 2020, trucks are only allowed to turn right in urban areas at walking pace.
(Stefan Gelbhaar [BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN]: That was already the case before!)
This slows down the flow of traffic at critical points and reduces the risk of making quick turning maneuvers.
With all these measures, we cannot foresee or say at the moment whether they will be sufficient or whether improvements need to be made. In the current draft law by Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, however, it is already advocated that cities and towns should be completely closed to many trucks as a precaution. The funding has been in place for less than two years; the new rules for turning in the road traffic regulations since April of this year, i.e. for about half a year; and the so-called prohibition club is already being pulled out by the Greens.
There are also alternatives to the ban. Dangerous intersections can be structurally adapted, the traffic light switch can be optimized to enable pedestrians and cyclists to cross the intersection safely. At dangerous intersections, trucks can even be prohibited from turning right if necessary.
(Stefan Gelbhaar [BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN]: Do you know how many such crosses there are in Germany?)
We should first take advantage of all of these options and not rush to close inner cities to trucks. Our way is not the prohibition, but our way is the support and promotion of trucks. The truck, the driver and the haulage company are not enemies but partners in the fight against turning accidents. I would therefore like to thank the entrepreneurs, the municipalities and organizations who are converting their fleets with turning assistance systems and who are making their contribution to safe roads in our country.
Many thanks also to the Ministry, to Minister Scheuer for his tireless commitment in this matter.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU – Stefan Gelbhaar [BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN]: Nothing since 2018! – Shouts from the FDP: Oh!)
As I said, we are rejecting the Greens’ bill.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU – Dr. Franziska Brantner [BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN]: And thank you that the sun shines every day!)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.