Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (118)

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

197 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Transport the action he intends to take to prevent the practice of truck drivers removing devices from their vehicles which restrict their speed; his views on whether there is a correlation between this practice and recent statistics from the National Roads Authority showing that 89% of all articulated lorry drivers break speed limits in 30 mph zones, 81% on motorways, 74% on dual carriageways and 74% on ordinary national primary main roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6773/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

The fitting and use of speed limitation devices on vehicles is governed by the Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations 1993. The regulations provide that goods vehicles over 12,000 kg. shall, at all times when used in a public place, be equipped with a speed limitation device the set speed of which does not exceed 85 kph. The use of a vehicle subject to these regulations in a public place where a speed limitation is not fitted or, where fitted, is not functioning correctly are offences under the Road Traffic Acts. For a breach of the regulations, one will be liable to a fine not exceeding €800 in the case of a first offence, a fine not exceeding €1,500 in the case of a second or subsequent offence, and to a fine of €1,500 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months or to a fine of €1,500 and a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months in the case of a third or subsequent offence in a period of 12 consecutive months. In addition, the Road Traffic Act 2002 provides that certain offences relating to speed limitation devices will attract between one and three penalty points.

The annual roadworthiness test for vehicles requiring speed limiters includes a check to establish that such a device is fitted and operating correctly.

Under current speed limit regulations 50 mph is the maximum speed limit for goods vehicles over 3,500 kilograms. It cannot be said that the findings from the NRA survey of speeds in rural and urban areas in 2002 confirm significant non-compliance with the speed limiter regulations. While the report does show that high proportions of articulated vehicles exceeded the speed limits with average speeds of 38, 53, 52 and 53 mph recorded for these vehicles on urban national roads, motorways, dual carriageways and national primary roads, respectively, none of these averages exceeds the 85 kmph or 53.15 mph limits at which speed limiter devices in these vehicles are required to be set.

Question No. 198 answered with QuestionNo. 118.