Berlin teenagers kill their friend in a Car2Go accident – and provoke a public debate about the risks of time-based payments in car sharing

A Car2Go smart fortwo drives through Berlin

Last Friday night, three young men rented a Car2Go in Berlin – before one of them gets killed in a dramatic accident.

According to reports by German newspapers, the three friends drive around in a two-seater Smart Fortwo. Then, one of them gets out of the car. Moments later, he is run over and killed by the same vehicle.

The sequence of the events and the accident cause is not yet reconstructed by the Berlin police. Nevertheless, the public debate has already started. For instance, the local Berlin newsaper Der Tagesspiegel raises the question: ”Do time-based payments encourage reckless driving?”.  According to Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin citizens have the impression that Car2Go users have a particularly rough and dangerous driving style. However, experts cannot find any evidence to confirm this suspicion. There is no data available about accident rates of rental cars or car sharing programmes.

Unfortunately, the Berlin police is not the first German police department that has to deal with a deadly accident caused by a shared car: In 2015, two men killed a pedestrian in an illegal streetrace in Cologne. In that case, the car sharing service DriveNow was used, owned by German automaker BMW.

In Berlin, a Car2Go costs 0,24 euros per minute (approx. 0,28 US$) or 13,99 euros per hour (approx. 16,50 US$). In the German capital, the Daimler car sharing service is extremely successfull. The Car2Go press department recently announced that they’ve broken through the 200,000 user mark in Berlin this summer. With a fleet of 1,100 cars, Berlin is the biggest and most important Car2Go location throughout Europe.

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