80kph limit to be cut on minor roads
SPEED limits of 80kph on small country roads are to be sharply reduced as part of a review by Leo Varadkar.
It emerged today that the Minister for Transport had ordered a nationwide study of limits with the aim of cutting accidents.
Road safety chiefs believe limits of 80kph on narrow roads where there is barely enough room for two cars to pass are too high.
At the other end of the scale, some dual carriageways could see an increase in legal speeds.
The examination is to be carried out by the National Roads Authority (NRA) and local councils.
NRA spokesman Sean O'Neill confirmed the authority had received direction from the minister to carry out an audit.
Mr O'Neill said it would work with the local authorities, which are the governing bodies when it comes to setting speed restrictions on regional and local roads.
"We have no legal designation to set limits (on regional and local routes)," he added.
However, the NRA can act in an advisory role as it has an expertise in engineering standards and road design.
"All roads that are signed with speed limits will be assessed, including small boreens," Mr O'Neill said.
Motorists are to be consulted.
It comes as AA Ireland initiated a similar study, asking motorists for their opinions on speed limits.
"We have a major challenge here to try and get speed limits properly set once and for all and we hope that with your help we will be able to compel local authorities to get it right," the AA's Conor Faughnan said.
Among the aims will be to reduce inconsistencies between different counties so as to minimise confusion to motorists.
While many small rural routes have 80kph limits, a similar speed restriction applies to the N4 Dublin-to-Sligo road.
This is despite the fact the N4 has four lanes.