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The road user and the law

Road traffic law

The following list can be found abbreviated throughout the Code. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide, but an indicator as to some of the important points of law.

Traffic laws

For the precise wording of the law, please refer to the various Orders and Regulations (as amended) indicated in the Code.

Most of the provisions apply on all roads throughout Northern Ireland.

A road includes a public road, any part of a public road and any bridges or tunnels over or through which a public road passes, and any street, carriageway, highway or roadway to which the public has access (RTO 1995 Art 2).

It is important to note that references to ‘road’ therefore generally include footways, footpaths, and cycle tracks and many roadways and driveways on private land (including many car parks).

In most cases, the law will apply to them and there may be additional rules for particular paths or ways.

Some serious driving offences, including drink-driving offences, also apply to all public places, for example public car parks.

Orders and regulations from 1988 can be viewed on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website.

Orders and regulations prior to 1988 are only available in their original print format which can be obtained from The Stationery Office (TSO).

*Specific legislation applies to smoking in vehicles which constitute workplaces. For information, go to:

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