Why 'Jake's law' on speed limits is the fastest way to cut road death numbers
The unopposed passage in the Dáil this week of a law Bill (Jake's law) to introduce a 20kph speed limit in residential areas is a measure of the support across all political parties for strengthening rules to promote road safety.
The private members bill, sponsored by Sinn Féin Deputy Dessie Ellis, was prompted by the grieving parents of a young boy, Jake Brennan, who died after being hit by a car outside his home in a Kilkenny housing estate. Since this life-altering tragedy, the family have been campaigning to have 20kph speed limits introduced in residential estates.
Such mandatory limits are not straight forward and the minister, in welcoming and supporting the principle of the bill, indicated he had instructed local authorities to examine and report on the implementation of the measure and for the Attorney General to liaise with the deputy sponsoring the bill on how best to progress the new law. The law as it stands sets a default speed limit of 50kph in built-up areas, but allows local authorities to set a limit of 30kph where they believe it is appropriate.