Tags: driving | ban | climate | change
OPINION

'Indefinite' Weekend Driving Ban Coming to the US?

'Indefinite' Weekend Driving Ban Coming to the US?
A man crosses the street in a nearly empty Times Square, which is usually very crowded on a weekday morning in New York on March 23, 2020, at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

Lauren Fix By Friday, 03 May 2024 01:24 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Did you hear that a German minister threatened to have an ‘indefinite driving ban’ on weekends. This is no joke. I wish it was. The ruling coalition in Germany has been fighting over legislation that sets out binding climate targets.

Could this happen in the U.S. or other countries? It sure can, here’s how.

The German transport minister threatens to ban driving on weekends if it doesn’t meet the government's climate goals and the ruling coalition does not pass reforms to the Climate Protection Act by July. This sounds like extortion to me.

As governments make new laws and regulations, leaders seem to not care about the impact to their citizens and what people want and need. Frequently, these rules are enforced by non-elected officials, but even elected officials seem to be in lockstep.

How in the world is having a driving ban on weekends even a good idea?

Liberal politician Volker Wissing of Germany wrote in a letter to the parliamentary group leaders of the coalition, “A reduction in traffic is to help meet the climate goals would only be possible through measures that are difficult to communicate to the public, such as comprehensive and indefinite driving bans on Saturdays and Sundays.”

The federal coalition government, made up of the center-left Social Democrats, the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats, has been at odds for months over many issues.

The planned amendment to the emissions-reduction law allows climate goals to be reviewed for compliance. If the overall target is missed two years in a row, then the German federal government is to decide in which sector and with which measures the permitted total amount of carbon dioxide emissions is to be achieved by 2030. Translated:  driving bans on weekends starting in 2030! This is not a joke.

As environmental organizations —including Greenpeace, the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation BUND, and Fridays for Future — push the German government to meet their climate goals, they are now targeting people's driving freedom and want to restrict their ability to travel and their freedom.

"This claim is simply wrong," Green parliamentary group leader Julia Verlinden told the German Press Agency, referring to Wissing's threat of a weekend driving ban. She added that Wissing should not aggravate people unnecessarily because there are other ways to tackle climate issues, such as a speed limit. Germany has the Autobahn which is a highway with no speed limits in certain areas of Germany.

“Wissing has wasted two years blocking every climate protection measure in road traffic — now he is coming up with horror scenarios so that he won't have to do anything in the future either," said Verlinden.

What about here in the USA? The U.S. Constitution ensures the “right to travel,” but during the coronavirus pandemic, state and local officials increasingly told drivers to stay home. Essentially banning the ability to drive.

As stay-at-home orders spread across the United States, a number of states had moved to restrict the arrival of nonresidents to certain states and make sure that they quarantined for 14 days. Governors in some states including Rhode Island, Florida and Texas implemented interstate travel restrictions, including stopping some drivers coming from out of state at the border to remind them of the quarantine requirement.

If the government calls for a climate emergency, could the U.S. government ban us all from driving on certain days, on the weekend or for as long as they want? Let’s hope not.

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LaurenFix
Did you hear that a German minister threatened to have an 'indefinite driving ban' on weekends. This is no joke. I wish it was.
driving, ban, climate, change
708
2024-24-03
Friday, 03 May 2024 01:24 PM
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