Regulation of  Traffic

Where there is a large assembly of persons or where there is traffic congestion by reason of an incident or accident a member of an Garda Siochana my direct regulatory control traffic for that purpose. They may use portable signs to prohibit and direct traffic and prohibit parking, and  take steps necessary generally, in order to prevent obstruction or disorder.

For the purpose of maintaining order in relation to traffic when there is an event attracting a large assembly of persons, when there is traffic congestion, fire flood or  similar occurrence, a member of an Garda Siochana, in uniform, may divert, regulate and control traffic and parking of vehicles.

He may prohibit passenger traffic, direct traffic, prohibit parking of vehicles and indicate places for parking of vehicles or stands for taxis.  Contravention of a direction by given by a Garda is an offence.  A member of an Garda Siochana may temporarily authorise a person as a parking attendant for such purpose.

Where a market or fair is held in a public place the local authority  may make bylaws for the purpose of securing passage of traffic on such occasion.  Breach of the byelaws is an offence.

Closing Roads to Traffic

The Minister after holding a public inquiry may order the closing of roads to particular vehicles or classes of vehicles.  Where the order is made, the Road Authority is to erect signs in the form approved stating the effect of the order.  Driving a vehicle in breach of the designation is an offence.

A Road Authority or railway company may prohibit vehicles with loads exceeding a certain amount from passing over bridges. They provide notices dealing with such weights and speeds.

An appeal may be made to the Minister for removal of variation of a notice by persons affected.  Breach of the terms of the notice is an offence.  Both the owner and driver of the vehicle may be guilty of an offence for contravention.

Road Works

The Road Authority may after consultation with the Garda Commissioner make byelaws providing for the regulation and control of access to and from construction sites generally, or particular types of sites or a site, by vehicles or type of vehicles.  Breach of the byelaws is an offence.

A local authority may give a direction in writing to a person in relation to carrying out road works.  It may set the time limits, standards and manner in which the road works are to be carried out.  Local authorities is to have regard to a range of factors so as to minimise the obstruction of traffic.  The provision does not apply to emergency works.

Contravention of a direction or regulation is an offence.  It may be tried summarily or on indictment.  Offences by body corporates with the connivance or consent of officers may be prosecuted against the company and officers concerned.  The Road Traffic (Co-ordination of Road Works) Regulations, spell out the detail.


County councils and other local authorities may with the consent of the Garda Commissioner make arrangements for  the appointment of school wardens to patrol roads where schoolchildren cross.

The school wardens uniform is specified.  A person acting as a traffic warden is presumed to be such until the contrary is owned.

A school warden may exhibit signs as may be prescribed to stop traffic, in order  to enable children to cross.  Failure to comply is an offence.

Traffic Calming

A road authority, in the interests of safety and convenience of road users may provide traffic-calming measures as they consider desirable in relation to public roads in their charge.  Before providing or removing traffic-calming measures, the authority is to consult with the Garda Commissioner, publish notices in the areas stating the proposals and  seeking representation.  They are to consider observations made by the Commissioner or as a result of the publicity above.

The making and removing of traffic-calming measures is a reserved matter.  In the case of national roads, the consent of the National Roads Authority is required. The Minister may issue guidelines in relation to traffic-calming measures. It is an offence to move, remove, damage or attempt to remove or damage traffic-calming measures.

Traffic-calming measures can include measures for the restriction and control of speed of vehicles or access by vehicles whether  generally or  of a particular class.  It may include signs, markings, bollards, posts, chicanes, rumble areas, raised road surfaces, ramps, cushions, speed cushions, speed tables or other such devices, islands, central reservations, roundabouts, modified junctions.


A person may not drive a mechanically propelled vehicle exceeding the speed limits prescribed.  In some cases, there may be a speed limit applicable to the particular vehicle.  Breach is an offence subject to the general penalty.  A fixed charge penalty may be imposed.

There are a number of speed limits including ordinary speed limits, built up area  speed limits, regional and local road speed limits, national road speed limits, motorway speed limits, special speed limits, and road works speed limits The general road speed limits are provided for in Road Traffic Act 2004. Varying speed limits apply to larger vehicles and HGVs etc.

The Minister may make regulations specifying speed limits for public roads.  Distinctions may be made between classes of vehicles and types of roads.The Minister may make regulations varying the general speed limit or exempting particular classes of vehicles.

General Limits

The general speed limit for an ordinary mechanically propelled vehicle is 80 km/h on a public road. This applies to  regional and local roads. This does not apply where  a lower speed is specified as will often be the case.

This does not apply to such roads in built-up areas.  The regional or local road limit does not apply to non-urban regional and local roads where there is a special speed limit, or a roadwork speed limit applies to that road.

The general speed limit in a built-up area is 50 km/h for all vehicles unless another speed limit is specified A built-up area is a city or town under the Local Government Act.  The built-up area speed limit does not apply to a road where a  special speed limit or roadwork speed limit applies.

The national road speed limit is 100 kilometres per hour in respect of all national roads other than those in built-up areas.  It does not apply where special speed limits (including for roadworks)  apply.

The speed limit on motorways is 120 km/h for ordinary  vehicles. This does not apply to certain categories of vehicle. It may be varied where there is a special speed limit or roadwork speed limits apply.

The general maximum speed limit for a single decker or double-decker mechanically propelled vehicle with capacity to carry more than eight passengers is 80 km/h on a public road or 100 kilometres per hour on a dual carriageway or motorway or where it is designed to carry standing passengers is 65 km/h. Lower speeds may be specified.

Local Speed Controls

The Minister may make guidelines relating to the making of byelaws and Councils must have regard to them.  The making of byelaws is a reserved matter to the local elected members.

Local authorities may make byelaws providing special speed limits in their area.  They may vary between 30 kilometres per hour and 120 kilometres per hour; 30 kilometres, 50 kilometres, 60 kilometres, 80 kilometres or 100 kilometres and 120 kilometres. The higher speed limits may only apply in respect of a motorway, national road or dual carriageway.

Before making the byelaws, notice must be given to adjoining local authorities and the Garda Commissioner.  Account must be taken of their representation.  Byelaws must be notified and available for inspection.  Persons may object to draft byelaws. Byelaws may not be made in relation to a national road or motorway without the consent of the NRA.

The County Manager Chief Executive  may, by order make a roadwork speed limit order.  This applies to a specified road or part of it, for the duration of road works.  The order may not exceed 12 months.  Where the road is a national road, the prior consent of the NRA is required.  Before making a roadwork speed limit, the Garda Commissioner is to be notified. The manager shall consider representations made by the Commissioner and others.

Larger Vehicles & Speed

Regulations provide a general speed limit for buses and heavy goods vehicles except where lower speed limits apply to the road.  The maximum speed limit is 100 km/h while being driven on a motorway or dual carriageway for a single or double decker passenger vehicle that can seat more than eight passengers, excluding the driver, that do not carry standing passengers

A 65 km/h speed limit applies to single buses and coaches which are designed or  adapted to carry standing passengers.  A speed of 80 km/h applies to goods or other non-passenger vehicles over 3500 kg and to any vehicle that is towing another vehicle.

There are provisions in respect of speed limitation devices for certain larger vehicles.  They must comply with certain requirements.  The provisions apply to goods having weights exceeding 12,000 kg or having passenger accommodation more than eight


In a prosecution for speeding, electronic apparatus management including speed cameras and radars are deemed sufficient evidence of speed. It is not necessary to prove that the apparatus was in order. Records generated by such devices are presumed accurate subject to certain conditions. They are presumed to be in working order.

Arrangements may be made for putting in place speed cameras and other  equipment upon,  on which is presumptive evidence of breaking the speed limit may be based

The equipment must be of a type approved by an Garda Siochana or the  National Roads Authority.

Where proof of speed is an issue the uncorroborated evidence of one witness stating his opinion as to speed is not accepted as proof whether that person is the person accused or another person

The penalty for breach of speeding limit is the general penalty. A person is subject to 2 penalty points on fixed charge or for penalty points if convicted by a court

Devices which frustrate or jam speed meter may not be used in a public place, imported supplied or offered or fitted to a vehicle. Breach is an offence.


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