The Government is planning to overhaul our speed limit system.
The report of a special working group established by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar was published yesterday. It recommends:
80kmh signs on narrow country roads be removed
New ‘rural speed limit’ signs be introduced to replace them
A new appeals mechanism for inappropriate speed limits be set up
Every speed limit be audited every five years
‘Silly signs’ which may encourage inappropriate speeds will be removed
Road work speed restrictions be limited to construction period
Variable speed limits, average speed detection, and in-car satnav speed warnings will be piloted
The Speed Limit Working Group said its goal was to ensure that the speed limit on any given road was a fair reflection of the road conditions.
The Working Group was set up by Minister Varadkar and asked to address inconsistencies in Ireland’s speed limits, which can vary significantly between roads and counties, and even on the same stretch of road. It was also asked to find the most appropriate speed limit for country lanes, which currently have a default limit of 80kmh, regardless of road condition.
“If people are going to respect speed limits, then we need to ensure that speed limits respect the motorist. But we must also ensure that every limit is safe and sensible.”
Summary of report’s recommendations
-A new appeals system will be put in place to address inconsistent speed limits. This will allow interested parties or members of the public to appeal a given speed limit to the local authority. The authority must consider the issue within a given timeframe. If dissatisfied with the local authority response, the appeal can be escalated to a review body.
-80 kmh signs on narrow rural roads will be replaced with a generic sign that does not display a numeral. The limit will remain at 80kmh but the new sign will be the ‘black circle with diagonal’ which is in use internationally. That sign means that the driver must use their own judgement but must never exceed 80kmh in any event.
-The Road Safety Authority will run an awareness campaign on the new rural speed limit signs, and other measures, and will update the Rules of the Road.
The National Roads Authority and local authorities will review and update speed limits on a five year cycle to ensure appropriate fit and compliance with the Guidelines. The Department of Transport is currently mapping every speed limit in the country on to a computer database.
So-called ‘silly signs’ - such as a 100kmh speed limit on a dangerous corner where a lower speed would be more appropriate – will be removed.
A voluntary pilot of in-car speed warnings, where drivers can choose to be warned by their satnav system if they exceed the speed limit, will be offered to motorists.
Trials will be run of variable speed limits which can be adjusted according to weather conditions, the volume of traffic, the time of day, or the day of the week.
Average speed limits will be introduced on motorways or other long-distance fixed roads to determine whether a vehicle has driven faster than the maximum speed limit over a given length of road.
Link to full report of Speed Limits Review: http://www.dttas.ie/roads/publications/english/speed-limit-review-2013