Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey is pressing ahead with plans to reduce the drink driving limit, despite objections from some Fianna Fáil backbench TD's.

The Road Traffic Bill reduces the blood alcohol limit from its current level of 80mg/100ml to 20mg/100ml for learner, novice and professional drivers, and to 50mg/100ml for other drivers.

Breath testing will also become mandatory at the scenes of crashes.

These measures are included in the new Road Traffic Bill, which was published this afternoon.

Those whose blood-alcohol level falls between the old and new limits will be given three penalty points rather than an automatic disqualification.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the Road Traffic Bill was a 'balanced proposal that meets the requirements of the situation'.

He said it meets policy objectives regarding road safety and he was 'confident it reflects a balanced outcome.'

Reacting to the publication of the new Road Traffic Bill, Fianna Fáil Deputy Brendan Kenneally said he would have preferred if it had 'stayed the way it was'.

However, he said he felt Minister Dempsey had listened to those in Fianna Fáil who spoke out against the reduction because 'it's just an administrative sanction rather than going on your criminal record'.

He said the Minister had 'toned down' his initial proposal and therefore 'progress had been made'.

South Tippereary West Waterford Fianna Fáil TD Mattie McGrath has said that he was surprised that the road traffic bill was published today.

In a statement, Deputy McGrath said he was of the opinion that there was a period of reflection and consultation taking place following the last Fianna Fáil parliamentary meeting.

He said he would be consulting his parliamentary party colleagues who had the same concerns and also the wider parliamentary party over the weekend.

Mr McGrath said he would also be consulting his constituents about the new bill.

Fine Gael's spokesperson on transport and road safety Shane McEntee said his party welcomed publication of the Road Traffic Bill but that it did not go far enough and should also address speed and drug-driving.