Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath, James Bannon has called for a full review of speed limits.
The local TD’s efforts come just days after the launch of ‘Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits’ which has been initiated by Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe.
“For some time I have been highlighting the issue of speed limits that are too high in residential areas or limits that are too low in rural areas,” said Deputy Bannon.
“The document published by Minister Donohoe provides advice and guidance to local authorities who have responsibility for speed limits across the country.”
The local TD went on to say that he was under no illusion that changes were needed, particularly in Longford town and Granard.
“Some roads in the bigger towns of Longford and Granard, as well as in smaller areas are regularly used as rat runs and therefore carry large volumes of traffic,” he continued.
“Lower speed limits in these areas may deter this traffic and make the roads quieter for residents. Equally there are rural roads in very good condition that have speed limits so low that it is difficult to adhere to them.
“New road signage to deal with speed limits in rural areas on minor local roads will be introduced and there will also be new urban ‘Slow Zones’ introduced in residential areas to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h.
Deputy Bannon added, “Following the review, drivers on narrow country roads in Longford will begin to see a new sign with a white circle with black diagonal stripes. This sign is in use internationally; it will replace the 80km/h sign and will mean that drivers must use their judgement when using the road but must not exceed 80km/h.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Micheal Carrigy (FG) said that road safety remained at the centre of the new guidelines and too many people were losing their lives on local roads.
“I urge Longford County Council to begin the review without delay,” he pointed out, adding that now was an opportune time for local authority engineers to audit the speed limits currently in operation in Longford.
Moyagh Murdoch, RSA chief executive, said 80km/h country roads with “grass growing up the middle and clearly incapable of taking two cars” had brought the system into disrepute.
She said they would be running online, mobile and print media advertising campaigns backing the changes.
Minister Donohoe meanwhile added, “20km/h is just over 12 miles an hour and the level of motion has to be credible. 30km/h is credible and this has been shown by international best practice.”