New speed limit signs on the way for rural Wexford roads
Drivers will be allowed to use their own judgement to choose an appropriate speed
New rural speed limit signs are being placed on minor roads which will 'allow' drivers to use their own judgement to choose an appropriate speed but never more than 80 km/h.
The changes, including urban slow zones, have been welcomed by Wexford County Council as they will help change driver behaviour.
The new recommended speed limit signs will eventually replace the current 80 km/h signs with a new back circle with a diagonal bar.
'Replacing the 80 km/h speed limit sign with the new rural speed limit sign on minor local roads is a good decision, said Mr. Noel O'Driscoll, Senior Roads Engineer at Wexford County Council.
Mr. O'Driscoll said it was felt that, on some very minor local roads, the old 80 km/h such signage gave a wrong message to drivers and was treated by some as a target, rather than the limit it is supposed to be.
He said the new signage system recognises that an 80 km/h sign is simply inappropriate for these minor roads. 'The new rural speed limit sign means that motorists must use their judgement when driving these roads, and must take into account factors such as weather, road surface, width and conditioN.. while cognisant always of the maximum speed limit of 80km/h that continues to apply,' he said.
The RSA says it is the responsibility of a driver to obey the speed limit and to ensure that the vehicle speed is appropriate for the prevailing circumstances, even if that speed is lower than the speed limit applying on the section of road.
This new sign, which is in use internationally under the Vienna signage convention, was reportedly used in Ireland prior to 2004.
The changes will see new signage on country roads and within housing estates within the next two years and will include the provision of 'slow zones' in housing estates and reviews of speed limits every five years.
The changes for country roads will be:
* On roads that are narrower than seven metres, the speed limit will be 80 km/h.
* On roads wider than seven metres, it will be 100 km/h
* These will be signposted as normal, but will be consistent
* Local authorities will be allowed put a white circle road sign on roads to tell people they should go slower than the 80km/h limit.
In terms of urban slow zones, there will be a 30 km/h limit in built up areas as 'appropriate', a new sign warning drivers to slow down will be introduced and local authorities will have the option to introduce 20 km/h limits on consultation with local communities.
'These 30 km/h lower limits provide an important safety measure within a defined area and are intended to change driver behaviour. It is envisaged that each such slow zone will be particularly appropriate in relation to public roads within housing estates and it is proposed to implement such zones here in County Wexford,' said Mr. O'Driscoll.