"Low’s character is unsuitable for driving"
Dangerous projectile: the AMG version of the S-Class Coupe offers 585 hp
After the accident in the training camp of the DFB national team with an AMG model, traffic scientist Dieter Muller calls for a psycho-test for drivers of high-powered cars. And he reprimands the national coach.
S.More powerful engines, martial looks, self-confident sound – the market for high-performance models is booming. Refiners such as AMG for Mercedes, quattro GmbH (Audi) or M GmbH (BMW) have in some cases recorded double-digit growth rates. More and more upgraded cars are on German roads, and power levels of more than 400 hp are not uncommon.
We talked to Dieter Muller, Professor of Traffic Law in Bautzen, about how this trend is changing German roads, which drivers appeal to the souped-up cars, and what they want to compensate with the horsepower.
The world: A wider public recently became aware of an AMG model when the car was involved in a serious accident at the national team’s training camp. Are the souped-up models more dangerous than normal cars??
Dieter Muller: The problem is behind the wheel: high-powered vehicles are not problematic per se – at least in terms of road safety. It looks very different with their environmental balance sheet. So if people are chilled drivers and never press anyone, there is no problem. But if someone interferes with the rights of others with his driving style, for example driving up far too close, a safety problem arises.
The world: Drivers of high-performance vehicles are prone to hooliganism?
Muller: A lot of people buy such a car because of its speed. And then they want to drive it out, preferably on the autobahn. The cars are not only tuned for horsepower, they also look different: the headlights, the radiator grille. You notice something like that in the rearview mirror. But there is no reliable information about it. There should be a study that examines whether the drivers of such cars are more often involved in coercive offenses or speeding violations. The relevant data is collected by the Federal Motor Transport Authority.
The world: Why is there no such study yet??
Muller: Because it would cost money and industry has no interest in it. The results could lead to limitations. And the automobile clubs don’t want to know anything about it either: the drivers are club members.
The world: The souped-up cars worsen the mood on the streets?
Muller: It could be that these drivers are demanding to be able to drive fast and want to use the left lane for this. And that increases when there are more. Many police officers observe that the climate is getting harsher. However, many drivers who are harassed by others often do not dare to file a complaint. Because it is very difficult for such a perpetrator to be convicted.
The world: High-performance models don’t belong on the racetrack?
Muller: I think nobody in Germany needs a 300 hp car. But we are a freedom-loving state and that is an expression of personal freedom: Anyone who can and wants to afford such a model will buy it.
The world: In the mid-1980s, some automakers voluntarily set a maximum speed for their vehicles of 250 km / h. This is hardly taken into account today. Do we need new legal regulations here??
Muller: As long as there is no security risk against it, this would interfere with the rights of freedom. Legislators can only change something here if it can also be proven that such models pose a security risk. But as long as there are no studies, it cannot be proven. I need to have not just an assertion, but evidence as a basis. And I think there should be such a study urgently.
The world: Or you require a special driver‘s license from the drivers of such models.
Muller: These drivers would have to undergo a separate psychological examination. Traffic psychologists can find out the motivation for driving. In Germany, suitability for driving is simply assumed. In general, the physical, mental and emotional fitness to drive should be examined before you get a driver‘s license.
The world: A training program for handling high-powered vehicles would also be conceivable.
Muller: Mandatory, special driver safety training would be a good suggestion. Because with 400 HP you have an enormous acceleration force: From a purely physical point of view, this is a vehicle that is much more likely to kill someone than a weaker vehicle. The risk of making mistakes at such speeds is significantly higher. Motorway police officers sitting in highly motorized cars have to take high-speed driver safety training every two years.
The world: The rapper Bushido sang hymnically about his AMG, was caught once too much at 132 km / h and had 27 points in Flensburg. A certain clientele drives these souped-up cars?
Muller: There is no study on this either. However, when it comes to the prices for the purchase and maintenance of such models, it is clear that there is a higher income group of buyers. I suspect that it is mainly people whose character to drive is dubious – and who often use such vehicles to define their personality. You will hardly find a woman who will buy something like this. This has to do with manhood madness: If you can’t prove yourself in other areas, then you have to do it on the street.
The world: National coach Jogi Low had to surrender his driver‘s license for six months with 18 points in Flensburg. It also serves as a role model when it comes to driving behavior?
Muller: Absolutely. As national coach, Low is a role model for millions of people in Germany. The fact that his driving license was withdrawn proves that he is unsuitable for driving. To be exemplary, he has to show that he learns from his mistakes. Because if he sees this as a triviality, so do others. Oliver Bierhoff’s comment that this was nothing special spoke volumes.
The world: So it wasn’t a trivial offense.
Muller: Nothing against people who have few points – that can happen to anyone. But under the old system there were 40,000 people who had 13 points and more. This is the top group of drivers who have no business being on the roads. In this group, Mr. Low still belongs to the crème de la crème.
The world: After six months, the national coach gets the driving license back.
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