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Speed limits and enforcement

Useful advice and information on speed limits and enforcement in Dorset

General information

  • new speed limits will be prioritised for areas where there are recorded collisions

  • limits tend to be introduced in built-up areas such as villages or towns to protect highway users

  • 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

  • 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 Dorset County Council's  Speed limit policy (April 2017) (pdf, 38kb) (opens in a new window).

See also - National guidance on speed limits (opens in a new window)

Introducing a speed limit

It is not a simple case of introducing speed limits.  We have to consider:

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

  • historical road safety issues and accident data

  • the cost of introducing a new speed limit

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.  Find out more about how to make requests.

Enforcing speed limits

Dorset Police are responsible for enforcing speed limits.  If you believe that there is a genuine speed issue, with vehicles travelling at a speed over the prescribed limit for a road on a regular basis then you should contact local Police enforcement.

Report a speeding issue

See also - Speed Indicator Devices

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, Dorset County Council 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.

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

Report and track road issues and enquiries

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