80kmh speed signs shelved 'for sending wrong message'
Thousands of 80kmh speed signs across the country are to be replaced with a black and white alternative which does not contain a numeral.
The signs signify that motorists will be expected to use their own judgment in relation to speed without exceeding a limit of 80kmh.
The new signs will have a black circle with a diagonal line, similar to those used in Ireland before 2004. However, they do not denote a change in the speed limit.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the decision is being taken because the 80kmh signs can send out the "wrong message".
The 80kmh signs flagged for removal are situated along narrow country roads, according to a report carried out by the Speed Limits Review Group.
The cost of the changes is not finalised because the number of signs set to be taken down has yet to be established. However AA Ireland last night said it is estimated to be thousands of euro.
Mr Varadkar: "Speed limits need to be sensible. And they also need to be obeyed. Speed is the major cause of injuries and deaths on our road.
"Around next summer they will start seeing the appearance of new black and white signs around boreens and narrower roads."
Meanwhile, the report has recommended the setting up of a system which will allow members of the public to lodge appeals against speed limits.
And an independent body will examine the decisions by local authorities in relation to appeals.
Conor Faughnan of AA Ireland said he believed the appeals system is "really important" for the public. "It will give motorists a proper voice in the setting of speed limits."
Mr Varadkar said he intends to draft legislation that is necessary to underpin the appeals mechanism. Further measures set to come in over the next two years include:
* The setting up of an audit process of all speed limits every five years.
* The removal of so-called 'silly signs' which may encourage inappropriate speeds.
* The introduction of "more effective" limits at road works.
* Motorists will be given the option of having an in-car speed warning from their satnav.