Speed limits - how they are set
Excess and inappropriate speed is a major factor in road collisions and fatalities in the Northern Ireland; particularly in areas where vehicles and more vulnerable road users mix. Speeding can adversely affect the quality of life of many communities. If you are concerned about traffic speed in your area, you can request a reduced speed limit to be put in place.
Why have speed limits?
Speed limits are an important part of achieving appropriate speeds on the road and are adopted for safety, environmental and accessibility reasons. Although national speed limits can be set for Northern Ireland separately from the rest of the UK, it is current practice for those operating in GB to be replicated here for consistency. The Department for Regional Development’s Roads Service, as the sole road authority for all roads in Northern ireland, is responsible for introducing local speed limits where the national limits are not appropriate.
Comprehensive information on the speed limits you would expect to come across on the different categories of road is given in chart form in The Highway Code.
You can purchase a copy of The Highway Code from the majority of high street bookshops or visit the web link below.
How do I set about getting a local speed limit changed?
If you would like a speed limit to be lowered, raised or extended, you should contact your local Roads Service Division Traffic Section who will make an assessment. Roads Service will seek a police view on any proposed changes to a speed limit. All characteristics of the road, such as its alignment, the level of activity alongside the road, the collision record and the degree of severance caused to a community by the speed of vehicles, will be taken into account. Please use the link below to find contact details:
Speed limits should fit into a rational and easily understood hierarchy if they are to be observed by drivers. Before deciding to change an existing speed limit local traffic managers must consider all the relevant factors, including:
- collision and casualty savings
- improvement to the environment
- improvement in conditions and facilities for vulnerable road users
- reduction in public anxiety
- increased journey times for motorised traffic
- costs of implementation
- costs of engineering measures and their maintenance
- negative environmental impact of engineering measures
- costs of enforcement
If it is considered that a change in the speed limit is the best course of action, then a Speed Limit Order has to be made. This involves a statutory legal process.
If you wish to report a vandalised/missing speed limit sign, you should contact the appropriate Division or local Section Office with full details about the location of the sign.
You can use the link below to report any problems with streets and roads, including signs:
Alternatively you can use the link below to find your local Roads Service office:
If the road in question has a system of street lighting, with no speed limit repeater signs, the limit is usually 30mph. Roads Service is not permitted to place 30mph repeater signs on these roads. The system of street lighting in an area should be sufficient evidence of 30mph limit.