Newly-qualified drivers will have to display an N for novice plate on their cars for two years after passing their test under new rules set to be proposed by the Department of Transport.

The measure is part of the new Road Traffic Bill, which is currently being drafted and is expected to be published before the end of the year.

Under the legislation learner drivers who incur six penalty points, as opposed to the current threshold of 12, could be put off the road.

It is expected N-plate drivers would also be subject to a lower threshold at which they could incur a ban.

The move is part of efforts to reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries on Irish roads.

Road Safety Authority Chief Executive Noel Brett said the new rules will reward good driving behaviour.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Brett said the measures would punish those who do not behave on the roads.

He said: "We're trying to target those most at risk of killing and being killed on our roads, and those are young and inexperienced drivers.

"What we're trying to do is reward good behaviour and kind of a 'polluter pays' principle. Those who misbehave are those who feel the pain."

Mr Brett also said the measures had the potential to make Ireland one of the safest countries to drive in Europe.