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Speed limits and enforcement

Introducing a speed limit

We have to consider:

  • the suitability of the limit and the set up of the road

  • historical road safety issues and accident data, areas with recorded incidents will be prioritised

  • the cost of introducing a new speed limit

  • an inappropriate limit will tend to be disregarded by drivers, so careful consideration must be made to set the right limit for a particular stretch of road
  • the location, we would not introduce a speed limit for single entities, such as at a junction, a sharp bend or on a steep hill

Read more in the council's speed limit policy and national guidance on speed limits

In the current financial climate, we are only able to make very minimal changes to speed limits, which are carried out on a priority basis.

Requests for amendments to an existing speed limit, or the introduction of a new limit must be made through town and parish councils.

Enforcing speed limits

Dorset Police (Dorset Road Safe) are responsible for enforcing speed limits. Any reports of excessive speed should be sent to them at

30mph limits in residential areas

On a road with street lighting installed to standards set out in the Road Traffic Regulations Act, the default limit is 30mph (unless otherwise signed).

Where the speed limit is 30mph, repeater signs cannot be used as it invalidates the limit for enforcement purposes. 30mph repeaters signs are only installed where there is no street lighting.

20mph limits in residential areas

Owing to the cost of introducing or amending speed limits, we would not consider introducing a 20mph limit, except in areas where there are recorded collisions. This limit would also need to be backed up with the presence of traffic calming to keep speeds down.

We are in the process of reviewing the updated speed limit guidance from the Department for Transport for introducing 20mph limits in urban and rural areas, but we will continue to use our existing policies for the time being.

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