Road Traffic Bill which will lower default speed limits goes to the President to be signed

— The Bill also makes drug tests mandatory at serious collisions, allows penalty points for multiple offences to be issued at once, and fixes technical issues to scooter legislation.

The Road Traffic Bill 2024, which will lower default speed limits, has been passed by the Dail and Seanad and has been sent to the President to be signed. The changes were planned last year when there was a sharp increase in road traffic deaths, and the trend of deaths on our roads has continued to worsen this year.

Speed limits will still be set by a process that includes councillors approving the changes, but the default limits will be lowered, including on national secondary roads, from 100km/h to 80km/h; on local rural roads, from 80km/h to 60 km/h; and on roads in urban areas from 50km/h to 30km/h.

The change will mean that a difference from the default will have to be justified. Currently, lower speed limits of 30km/h have to be justified.

The default limits for national roads and motorways will remain unchanged, and councils will still be able to use other limits, such as 60km/h and 40km/h.

ALSO READ: If you dislike disinformation, here’s what’s actually happening with speed limits in Ireland

The Bill, once enacted, will also include a notable change in how penalty points are handed out to motorists who are found to have broken a number of laws at once. Currently, motorists only receive points for the higher offence committed, but changes mean multiple penalty points can be issued at once.

It also includes mandatory drug testing following serious collisions as bringing that in line with the rules for alcohol testing.

The Department of Transport said that the new law will also “a number of technical amendments and addresses some recently identified anomalies within roads legislation”. This includes the regulations for electric scooters and electric bikes, which were delayed after the EU intervention.

A press release said: “The Department will now be working with stakeholders to implement the changes as rapidly as possible.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Road Safety, Jack Chambers said: “I am very pleased to see this Bill passed and I would like to thank both Houses of the Oireachtas for assisting in the swift passage of this essential and lifesaving legislation. We have witnessed a very disturbing upward trend in road deaths in the last few years, which is continuing into this year.”

He added: “This new legislation seeks to bring systemic improvements to road safety including reductions in speed limits, reform of penalty points, and mandatory drug testing at the scene of serious collisions. This is a key part of this Government’s strategy to reverse the trend of rising fatalities and help make our roads safer for all users.”

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, said: “I welcome the passage of this important Bill. It is a short and focused piece of legislation, and it will act as a vital tool in the Government’s response to the concerning trend we are witnessing on our roads.”

He added: “Too many families have experienced the loss of a family member on our roads, and it is important that we respond in a robust manner. Safer speeds, increased penalties and mandatory drug testing send a clear signal and will encourage safer driving behaviours.”


  1. Of course it is cheaper than investing money into the road’s infrastructure and it will look like they actually doing something. Won’t change anything in my opinion except for making money

  2. Great to get this legislation through. Many roads now at 50kmph are on roads by schools where it is not possible to have school zones due to 50kmph. Also on what could be quiet pleasant residential roads if it wasn’t for 50kmph traffic. Hopefully this will reduce serious accidents and deaths on our road with properly enforcement.

  3. I welcome it in general but given the current speed limits are barely enforced, I don’t see it making much difference. I know that when I drive 30kmph in the few parts of Dublin that currently have that speed limit and are sign posted as such, I have people flashing/beeping/aggressively overtaking. I expect it will be worse elsewhere when the limit is in and there is no sign posting

    • It does, however, allow councils the mechanisms to support speed reduction through narrowing of lanes, footpath build-outs, ramps etc. They can more easily implement them if the speed limit is 30kmh vs if it was 60km. The road design is absolutely critical for controlling speed. The removal of left turn slip-lanes, narrowing of entry/exit apexes on roundabouts etc. all contribute to speed reduction. Relying on Gardai, in my view, should be the last resort – unfortunately for decades the Gardai have been the only resort.

  4. Who is going to inforce these laws, I’m driving for over fifty years and I’d honestly say that I haven’t stopped by Gardaí three time in my life.? Is there any law inforcement for cyclists? Cyclists are continuously cycling without lights or reflective material, they cycle on footpaths, they don’t indicate their direction of travel, they constantly cycle through traffic lights. I’m a cyclist myself so I’m just wondering. Gardai need to be more vigilant and active. We badly need more Gardai, I’m blaming to Government.


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