Public able to appeal speed limits under system revamp

CONCERN: Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Eagers

Niall O'Connor

MEMBERS of the public will be entitled to appeal speed limits they feel are too high or too low, under new proposals.

A Government commissioned report has recommended an overhaul of the speed limit system.

Thousands of new speed limit signs will be introduced over the next two years, in a bid to improve road safety.

And an independent body is to be set up to examine the decisions made by local authorities in relation to appeals by the public.

A series of measures set to be implemented over the next two years also include:

* The removal of 80kmh speed signs on rural roads:

* The rolling out of a new system of black and white "rural slow signs" which do not display any numerals:

* 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.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar admitted that the 160 plus road deaths in 2013 was a matter of "grave concern".

The measures are designed to ensure that roads are made safer, he said.


"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," he said.

"Essentially what the report has concluded is that we need to make a number of changes.

"The big ones that people will see most immediately are the removal of repeater signs and silly signs going into bends and junctions for example. Around next summer they will start seeing the appearance of new black and white signs around boreens and narrower roads, replacing the current 80kmh signs which I think send the wrong message."

The Minister said he intends to draft legislation which is necessary to underpin the appeals mechanism.

Conor Faughnan of AA Ireland said he believed the creation of an appeals system is "really important" for the public.

"It will give motorists a proper voice in the setting of speed limits to make sure that we get it right," he said.

"That is very, very constructive and welcome."

The Road Safety Authority will run an awareness campaign on the new rural speed limit signs, as well as updating the rules of the road.