News » New Speed on Irish roads 2015-03-27

Motorists will be allowed to decide what speed to use when driving on narrow country lanes from today.


Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is set to unveil changes to rural road signs and new "urban slow zones" in housing estates.


Existing 80 kilometres per hour speed signs will be replaced by a new black circle with a diagonal line.


Donohoe said the Department has learned that putting a number on a speed limit sign "creating an incentive for people to travel at that speed limit, as opposed to below it."


He said the numberless sign will encourage people to use their own judgement for a safe speed, and travel below the overall limit for the area.


It is in keeping with international standards and will require motorists to use their judgement when using such roads.


The signs are, in fact, a return to older an older standard. Conor Faughan of the AA said the return was a welcome one.


"Older drivers will remember [this]. It is an internationally used sign," he said.


"It tells you you're off the network, on a relatively minor boreen, there's not set speed limit on this [and] you must your judgement.


"The underlying law still stipulates a maximum of 80kph. The law hasn't changed - the way it's signposted has."


The Transport Minister also said it will not be mandatory for housing estates to apply a 20 kilometre an hour speed limit when new laws are introduced later this year.


"It will see the speed limit in residential areas reduced to 30 kilometres per hour, while further rules later this year will give the option of a 20 kilometre limit.


"I'm not going to make it mandatory - I will be bringing in - via a road safety law later on this year - the provision for 20kph to be introduced in estates I local authorities decide this should happen."


He said he believed that local authorities were the right group to make such decisions about speed limits.


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