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People and Politics Forum 04. 07. 2008

"How do you stop road chaos caused by lorries?"


More information:

Putting the Brakes on - Tiefensee's War on Trucks

Germany's transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee has declared war on trucks. He wants a ban on overtaking; an extra lane and an increased toll for trucks travelling at peak times. His aim is to lessen traffic on the highways and shift goods transport to the railways. Forecasts show that otherwise, the traffic is set to worsen as ever more trucks clogg up Germany's roads. Moreover, drivers are under growing time pressure, and this leads to an increase in accidents.

Our Question is:

"How do you stop road chaos caused by lorries?"

René Junghans, in Brazil, writes:

"The only really positive way to lift road congestion is to shift to the railways, which would free up the highways (the Autobahnen) and improve the air we breathe. The sheer extent of emissions caused by trucks and lorries is intolerable, and so is the danger of accidents. ..Just this week in our city Sao Paolo, the authorities clamped a ban on truck traffic during daytime hours to battle congestion. Deliveries are only made at night. The haulage firms have now accepted the measure and are switching to smaller vehicles, which might cause more congestion, but at least for the moment the air is free of black and hazardous diesel fumes. Most transports in Brazil, sadly, are done by truck, but Europe and Germany have a well-established rail network so trucks should only be used in exceptional cases."

Peter Groll, in the Dominican Republic, goes a step further:

"Freight costs should be drastically increased to stop this driving madness, such as carting drinking water in plastic bottles from Italy to Germany to sell it for next to nothing on the German market, or using the roads to transport beer from Flensburg to Berchtesgaden, from Munich to Hamburg..."

Helge Weyland, in Argentina, is also adamant:

".. Truck journeys of more than 200 kilometers should be banned completely, and there should be strict controls."

Peter Santiago, in Germany, looks across the border:

"... Why not tax the other EU member that use your road before you tax your own? They do it to you! Fair is fair."

In the Philippines, Gerhard Seeger targets the transports themselves:

"..A lot of the goods that are moved across long distances are just as easily produced, or grown, locally. Transferring production abroad because it's allegedly cheaper is shortsighted and only serves short-term profits.."

Rolf G., in Thailand, says:

"Developing container technology - as in shipping - would be a good start...A freight train is to the land what a ship is to the sea. Haulage companies - throughout the EU - should have to prove that there was no rail alternative for a distance over 500 kilometers..."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.