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44 2004

Road Traffic Act 2004

PART 2

Speed Limits

Ordinary speed limits.

4.— (1) The Minister may make regulations prescribing a speed limit (“ordinary speed limit”) in respect of all public roads, or all public roads with such exceptions as may be specified in the regulations, for any class of mechanically propelled vehicle.

(2) Regulations under this section may prescribe different speed limits for any class of vehicle using particular categories of public roads.

(3) Regulations under this section may make provision for the exemption of a class or classes, including a sub class, of vehicles from a speed limit specified in any such regulations.

Built-up area speed limit.

5.— (1) There is a speed limit (“built-up area speed limit”) of 50 kilometres per hour in respect of all public roads, other than a motorway in built-up areas for all mechanically propelled vehicles.

(2) The built-up area speed limit does not apply to a road or part of it in a built-up area where a special speed limit or a road works speed limit applies to that road or part.

Non-urban regional and local roads speed limit.

6.— (1) There is a speed limit (“regional and local roads speed limit”) of 80 kilometres per hour in respect of all regional and local roads, other than such roads in built-up areas, for all mechanically propelled vehicles.

(2) The regional and local roads speed limit does not apply to a non-urban regional and local road or part of it where a special speed limit or a road works speed limit applies to that road or part.

National roads speed limit.

7.— (1) There is a speed limit (“national roads speed limit”) of 100 kilometres per hour in respect of all national roads, other than national roads in built-up areas, for all mechanically propelled vehicles.

(2) The national roads speed limit does not apply to a national road or part of it where a special speed limit or a road works speed limit applies to that road or part.

Motorway speed limit.

8.— (1) There is a speed limit (“motorway speed limit”) of 120 kilometres per hour in respect of all motorways for all mechanically propelled vehicles.

(2) The motorway speed limit does not apply in respect of any motorway or part of it where a special speed limit or road works speed limit applies to that motorway or part.

Special speed limits.

9.— (1) A county council or a city council may make bye-laws (“special speed limit bye-laws”) specifying in respect of any specified public road or specified part of a public road or specified carriageway or lane of a public road within its administrative area the speed limit (“special speed limit”) which shall be the speed limit on that road or those roads for mechanically propelled vehicles.

(2) The special speed limits that may be specified in bye-laws under this section are—

(a) 30 kilometres per hour, which shall only be applied in respect of a road or roads (other than a motorway) in accordance with guidelines issued by the Minister under this section,

(b) 50 kilometres per hour, in respect of any road other than a road in a built-up area,

(c) 60 kilometres per hour,

(d) 80 kilometres per hour, in respect of a motorway, a national road or a road in a built-up area,

(e) 100 kilometres per hour, in respect of a motorway, a non-urban regional or local road or a road in a built-up area, and

(f) 120 kilometres per hour, in respect of a dual carriageway that forms part of a national road that is not a motorway in accordance with guidelines issued by the Minister under subsection (9).

(3) Before making special speed limit bye-laws a county council or city council shall give notice to—

(a) the council of any borough or town in the administrative county concerned of any provision in the proposed bye-laws relating to roads in their respective administrative areas, and

(b) the Commissioner, and

shall consider any representations made in writing by any such council or the Commissioner where they are received within the period (not being less than one month after the date of service of the notice) specified in the notice.

(4) Whenever a county council or city council having considered any representations under subsection (3), proposes to make bye-laws under this section, the following provisions have effect—

(a) the council shall publish notice of the proposal at least once in at least 2 daily newspapers published in and circulating in the State or the area to which the bye-laws relate,

(b) the notice shall include—

(i) a statement of the purpose for which the bye-laws are to be made,

(ii) an intimation that a copy of draft bye-laws is open for public inspection at the address stated in the notice, and

(iii) an intimation that any person may submit to the council objections to the draft bye-laws at any time during the period of 30 days commencing on the date of the first publication of the notice,

(c) the council shall, during that period of 30 days, keep a copy of the draft bye-laws open for public inspection during ordinary office hours at the address stated in the notice,

(d) any person who objects to the draft bye-laws may submit his or her objection to the council in writing at any time during that period of 30 days and the council shall consider the objections.

(5) In making special speed limit bye-laws under this section a county council or city council may, in the interests of road safety, apply a special speed limit for a specified period or periods during any day or during specified days (such periods and days being indicated in such bye-laws) on a specified road or specified motorway or part of it and such special speed limit shall, notwithstanding any other provision in the said bye-laws relating to any such road or motorway or part of it, be the speed limit for that road for that period or periods only.

(6) Having regard to circumstances that are particular to a specified national road or motorway or any specified part, carriageway or lane of a specified motorway or national road, a county council or city council may, subject to subsection (7), specify in special speed limit bye-laws that a special speed limit applies in respect of that national road or motorway or part, carriageway or lane of it, in lieu of the speed limit that normally applies to the national road or motorway, for any period where the circumstances prevail and are described in the bye-laws.

(7) A county council or city council shall not make bye-laws under this section relating to a national road or a motorway without the prior written consent of the National Roads Authority.

(8) The Minister may make regulations in relation to all or any of the following matters:

(a) the varying of the speed limits standing specified in subsection (2) and that subsection shall have effect in accordance with any such regulations for the time being in force; or

(b) the exemption of a class or classes of mechanically propelled vehicles from a specified speed limit or from all of the speed limits specified or having effect under this section.

(9) The Minister may issue guidelines relating to the making of bye-laws under this section and may amend or cancel any such guidelines. Where any such guidelines are, for the time being in force, a county council or city council shall have regard to them when making any such bye-laws.

(10) The making of special speed limit bye-laws under this section and the making of representations under subsection (3)(a) are reserved functions (within the meaning of the Act of 2001).

(11) Where special speed limit bye-laws apply a special speed limit to a specified public road or specified part of a public road or specified carriageway or lane of a public road, that speed limit does not apply where a road works speed limit order is made in respect of the public road, part, carriageway or lane of it.

(12) A document which purports to be a copy of special speed limit bye-laws, and which has endorsed on it a certificate purporting to be signed by an officer of the county council or city council which made the bye-laws stating that the document is a true copy of the bye-laws and that the bye-laws were in force on a specified day, shall, without proof of the signature of such officer or that he or she was in fact such officer, be evidence, until the contrary is shown, in every court and in all legal proceedings, of the bye-laws and of the fact that they were in force on that date.

Speed limits at road works.

10.— (1) The manager of a county or a city council may, where he or she considers it is in the interests of road safety, on a road or motorway or part of a road or motorway where road works are being carried out in the administrative area of the county or city council for which he or she is the manager, by order (“road works speed limit order”) apply to the road or motorway or part of it a special limit (“road works speed limit”) being a speed limit of not less than 30 kilometres per hour, as the speed limit on the road or motorway for mechanically propelled vehicles, in lieu of the speed limit provided or having effect under this Act in respect of the road or motorway or part of it.

(2) A road works speed limit order is in force for the duration of the road works, subject to no such order having effect for a period of more than 12 months from the date of its making.

(3) A road works speed limit order shall not be made in respect of a national road or a motorway, without the prior written consent of the National Roads Authority.

(4) Before making a road works speed limit order the manager concerned shall notify the Commissioner in writing of his or her intention to make the order.

(5) The manager shall consider any representations made in writing by the Commissioner received by the manager within one month of the notification.

(6) When a road works speed limit order is made the manager concerned shall publish a notice in one or more newspapers circulating in the county or city council to which the order relates indicating the location where the order will have effect, the period for which it will have effect and the speed limit being applied through the order. The manager shall have regard to any representations that are made to him or her in relation to the road works speed limit order.

(7) A manager may at any time within the period specified in subsection (2) revoke or amend a road works speed limit order made by him or her.

(8) A document which purports to be a copy of a road works speed limit order which has endorsed on it a certificate purporting to be signed by the manager making the order or an officer of the local authority concerned designated by the manager stating that the document is a true copy of the order and that the order was in force on a specified day, shall, without proof of the signature of such manager or officer or that he or she was in fact such manager or officer, be evidence, until the contrary is shown, in every court and in all legal proceedings, of the order and of the fact that it was in force on that date.

Offence of exceeding speed limit.

11.— The following section is substituted for section 47 of the Principal Act:

“47.—(1) A person shall not drive a mechanically propelled vehicle at a speed exceeding the speed limit—

(a) that applies in respect of that vehicle, or

(b) that applies to the road on which the vehicle is being driven where that speed limit is lower than that applying to that vehicle.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence.

(3) In this section “speed limit” means a limit which is—

(a) an ordinary speed limit,

(b) the built-up area speed limit,

(c) the regional and local roads speed limit,

(d) the national roads speed limit,

(e) the motorway speed limit,

(f) a special speed limit, or

(g) a road works speed limit.”.

Transitional provisions — speed limits.

12.— (1) On the commencement of section 9 , bye-laws made under section 46 (inserted by section 33 of the Act of 1994) of the Principal Act continue in force and are deemed to be bye-laws for the purposes of that section 9 and are to be read as applying—

(a) a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour, in lieu of the built-up area speed limit of 30 miles per hour,

(b) a speed limit of 60 kilometres per hour, in lieu of the special speed limit of 40 miles per hour, and

(c) a speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour, in lieu of the special speed limit of 50 miles per hour,

and have effect in any county or city to which they apply until such time as bye-laws are made in respect of such county or city under that section.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), traffic signs provided for in regulations made under section 95 (as amended by section 37 of the Act of 1994) of the Principal Act depicting the speed limits referred to in subsection (1) as applying in lieu of the former speed limits applying prior to the commencement of section 9 , shall be provided as soon as may be after that date at the locations where the said former speed limits applied as provided for in bye-laws made under section 46 (inserted by section 33 of the Act of 1994) of the Principal Act.

(3) A traffic sign provided for the purpose of indicating a speed limit applying prior to the commencement of section 9 shall on or after that day be regarded as indicating the new speed limit applying in lieu of the former speed limit until a traffic sign is provided for in accordance with subsection (2).

Amendment of section 53 of Principal Act (dangerous driving.

13.— Section 53 of the Principal Act is amended by substituting for subsection (3) the following subsection:

“(3) In a prosecution for an offence under this section, it is not a defence to show that the speed at which the accused person was driving was not in excess of a speed limit applying in relation to the vehicle or the road, whichever is the lower under this Act.”.

Repeals (Part 2).

14.— Sections 44, 44A (inserted by section 24 of the Act of 1968), 44B (inserted by section 31 of the Act of 1994), 45 (as amended by section 32 of the Act of 1994) and 46 (inserted by section 33 of the Act of 1994) of the Principal Act are repealed.

Evidence in relation to certain offences under Act of 2002.

15.— Section 21 of the Act of 2002 is amended—

(a) by substituting for subsection (1) the following:

“(1) The onus of establishing prima facie proof of a constituent of an offence (including the speed at which a person, whether the accused or another person, was driving) under section 47, 52, 53, 55, 91, 92, 93 or 94 of the Principal Act or section 35 of the Act of 1994 may be discharged by tendering evidence from which that constituent can be inferred of measurements or other indications which were given by—

(a) electronic or other apparatus (including a camera) capable of providing a permanent record (including a permanent visual record) and are contained in such a record produced by it, or

(b) electronic or other apparatus (including a radar gun) which is not capable of producing a permanent record.

It is not necessary to prove that the electronic or other apparatus was accurate or in good working order.”,

(b) in subsection (2)(a), by substituting for subparagraph (i) the following:

“(i) purporting to be, or to be a copy of a record (which is not a visual record) referred to in subsection (1)(a) and to be signed by a member of the Garda Síochána, and”,

(c) in subsection (3), by substituting for paragraph (a) the following:

“(a) in the case of apparatus referred to in subsection (1)(a), be capable of producing a record of the measurements or other indications referred to in subsection (1), and”,

and

(d) by inserting after subsection (4) the following:

“(5) In proceedings for an offence referred to in subsection (1) it shall be presumed until the contrary is shown that—

(a) the electronic or other apparatus used for the tendering of evidence was provided and maintained by a member of the Garda Síochána, and

(b) that the development, production and viewing of records produced by such apparatus was carried out by a member of the Garda Síochána.

(6) In this section—

‘radar gun’ means an apparatus which—

(a) can be used to measure the speed of a moving object (such as a motor vehicle) by directing a signal from the apparatus at the object, and, if the signal is reflected off the object, the apparatus in turn receives the reflected signal, and

(b) is capable of measuring the speed of the object and displaying the speed on the apparatus;

‘record’ includes a visual record which can be stored permanently on the apparatus concerned.”.