Road safety concerns and speed limits

Find out how to make a speeding complaint and see how we deal with your concerns.

We share concerns about speeding motorists and seek to address those concerns to reduce casualties and improve the safety and quality of life for people who live and travel in North Yorkshire.

Working with our 95 Alive Road Safety Partnership organisations, we have developed a  speed management protocol (pdf / 1000 KB) that shows how a complaint about speeding will be assessed and responded to. This is the same whether the complaint is from a parish or district council, a resident, or has been raised as a concern by a local police officer or school governor.

Frequently asked questions

To report a site causing concern, fill in the  speed concern report form (doc / 820 KB) and return it to the address below.

North Yorkshire Police Traffic Bureau,
PO Box 809,
YO31 6DG

Tel: dial 101, choose option 2 and ask for the traffic bureau

In order to provide a proportionate response, an objective means of assessment of localised sites of concern and complaints has been developed:

Speed related collisions record

Speed data

Data for the preceding three years is reviewed. Sites are ranked as low or high based on the previous collision history. The severity of the collision (fatal, serious, or slight) is used to provide this ranking.

This is collected using automatic counting equipment and conducted over a period of at least seven days. We consider:

  • Mean (average) speed- provides a good overall indication of the speed environment
  • 85th percentile speed- helps to show how many drivers may be exceeding the legal speed limit by a significant amount by indicating the speed not exceeded by 85 % of the traffic surveyed.

Based on the data obtained from the sources above, each road is then categorised using a scale of 1 - 4, with 1 being the highest priority, as shown in the following table:





Likely Treatment





  • Higher level enforcement
  • Consider engineering measures - feed into high priority sites assessment
  • Education/publicity





  • Higher level enforcement
  • Consider engineering measures - feed into high priority sites assessment
  • Education/publicity





  • Low level enforcement
  • Consider engineering
  • Use of Matrix signs
  • Education/publicity





  • No further action

As the highway authority, we can make traffic regulation orders to limit vehicle speeds.

We have to consult on the proposed order and publish notices on site and in the local press detailing the proposal and inviting any objections, which, if they can't be resolved, must be reported to the relevant county council area committee.

Speed limits are an important part of achieving safe speeds on the road. National speed limits are set by the government.

If you would like a speed limit to be lowered, raised or extended, you can contact us for an assessment. We will seek a police view on any proposed changes to a speed limit.

Before deciding to change an existing speed limit we must consider all the relevant factors, including:

  • Accident and casualty savings;
  • Improvement to the environment;
  • Improvement in conditions and facilities for vulnerable road user;
  • Reduction in public anxiety;
  • Increased journey times for motorised traffic;
  • Costs of implementation;
  • Costs of engineering measures and their maintenance;
  • Negative environmental impact of engineering measures; and
  • Costs of enforcement.

If we decide that a change in the speed limit is required then a legal process begins and a statutory speed limit order has to be made.

If the road in question has a system of street lighting, with no speed limit repeater signs, the limit is usually 30mph. We are not allowed to place 30mph repeater signs on these roads. The system of street lighting in an area should be sufficient evidence of 30mph limit.

All roads are subject to a maximum speed limit unless a lower local limit applies. The national limits are:

  • Motorways and dual carriageways - 70mph;
  • Single carriageways - 60mph;
  • Restricted roads - 30mph.

A restricted road has street lights placed not more than 183m apart.

Local speed limits can be set at 20, 40 or 50 miles per hour. When deciding on the most appropriate limit for a road, we must consider a number of factors including:

  • The speed of traffic;
  • The surrounding environment;  and
  • The safety record of the road.

Enforcement of speed limits in North Yorkshire is the responsibility of North Yorkshire Police.

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