Latest figures show that over 190,000 penalty points that gardaí want to put on the driving licences of offending motorists cannot be applied.

People escaping the penalty point punishment include drivers from other countries, but a large number of Irish drivers are also getting off scot-free.

As of tonight, over 740,000 penalty points have been issued by gardaí since the scheme was introduced,

But of that figure over 190,000 points are effectively left in no man's land without a driving licence to attach them to.

Penalty points can only be applied in the Republic to drivers operating on a licence issued by this State.

So if you are a foreign national driving here on a non-Irish licence you ae immediately off the hook.

But many Irish people are also escaping punishment.

In many cases, a person may be brought to court for serious driving offences but their licence is not officially recorded by the Courts, and so penalty points cannot then be applied.

Separately, over 10,000 people who have been found to be driving without insurance also have no licence, and so effectively escape without penalty points.

Fine Gael tonight described the situation as a ‘scandal’ and called for greater sanctions for people who do not produce a valid licence when requested.

Meanwhile, latest figures show that as of tonight, 47 people lost their lives on roads so far this year, compared to 65 for the same period last year.

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid of the Garda Traffic Corps said the reduction in road deaths was very encouraging, but he warned against any complacency, saying one death was one too many.