The Minister for Transport has confirmed that 16 new penalty point offences for motorists are be introduced next year.

The new penalty point offences include targeting motorcylists and their passengers who do not wear helmets, where two points will be imposed.

Drivers who put a rear facing child seat in the front seat blocking an airbag will be hit with two points.

The penalties will be doubled if the driver unsuccessfully appeals the offence in court.

Other measures include a one point penalty if windscreens give a distorted view or for using a trailer without the proper lamps.

Motoring groups say they are concerned that the existing two point penalty for speeding may be increased and say some speeding limits need to change.

Leo Varadkar said he is confident the new measures will be implemented within the next 12 months, which means the number of offences under the penalty points system will then stand at 63.

Mr Varadkar also said it appeared that fewer than 200 people will have lost their lives by the end of this year - the lowest number killed since records began.

He offered his sympathies to the families of people who were killed on the roads.

Mr Varadkar also noted that the Christmas period has been poor in terms of road safety, with a high number of deaths reported.