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Ross seeks county-by-county review of 'insanely uncoordinated' speed limits

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has called on all local authorities to carry out the review.

Speed limit signs in Connemara.
Speed limit signs in Connemara.
Image: Shutterstock/Martina I. Meyer

SPEED LIMITS ON roads across the country are set to be reviewed as part of a major nationwide audit.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has called on all local authorities to carry out a review of the speed limits in their areas in a bid to address inconsistencies between counties.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, he questioned the why some small rural, winding roads had speed limits of 80 kmph, while other similar routes might have ones of 50 kmph.

The work is being carried out in tandem with the minister’s plans to introduce a tiered form of speeding offences.

In an interview with this publication last year, the minister confirmed that he intended to introduce the new law in 2019.

“It will be graduated, the more you break the speed limit the more you’ll be punished – there will be higher penalty points, certainly,” Ross said. 

The details of his proposals were released last December. However last month Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan spoke out against the new plan, stating it could have unforeseeable consequences.

“Mandatory sanctions or the removal of discretion is a blunt instrument and can have unintended consequences,” Flanagan said. 

Due to the disagreement, the bill is currently being redrafted, with one or two amendments being made, Ross said. 

“But the idea of graduated speeding is still in the bill and will remain in the bill,” he insisted. 

“Speeding is the biggest killer on our roads,” Ross said, adding that while speed limits were a matter for each local authority, there are inconsistencies. 

“In parallel with with the speeding legislation, I asked the councils for the update on all the speeds with a view to revising them into realistic, logical speed limits,” he said.

Ross said it is “quite obvious” that speed limits have an impact on road safety. They are often “insanely uncoordinated and unrelated to each other”.

While he said the local authorities are “a bit slow on reporting on these things”, he has received a number of reports back already.

Ross is not the first transport minister to announce such a review. Leo Varadkar ordered a similar one when he held the portfolio.

A working group set up by Varadkar issued its recommendations in 2013. 

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