The Minister for Transport has announced details of the expansion of the penalty points system to include 31 extra offences. 

Martin Cullen has also announced that a new ministerial road safety group is to be set up.

Offences that will incur penalty points from 1 April 2006 are illegal overtaking; failure to obey traffic lights, and stop and yield signs; failure to use child restraints; and driving on the hard shoulder.

Driving a Heavy Goods Vehicle or bus on the outside lane of the motorway will also earn points.

The move comes in the wake of yesterday's announcement that random breath testing is to be introduced on Irish roads.

Three of the new penalty point offences, such as driving a vehicle when medically unfit, will result in a court hearing.

The other 28 will result in one or two penalty points and fixed fines of €60 or €80. However, if the fines are not paid within a 56-day period, the motorist will face a court hearing, and increased penalty points and fines on conviction.