Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said there are 197 cases where allegations have been made of gardaí inappropriately cancelling penalty points and fines for some motorists.

An investigation into the allegations is being carried out by An Garda Síochána.

In the Dáil, he said in the three-and-a-half year period between January 2009 and 30 June 2012, there were over 1.4 million Fixed Charge Notices issued, with 402 allegations forwarded to the Commissioner.

Minister Shatter said that an examination identified duplicated allegations, which resulted in a reduction of the list to 197.

Mr Shatter said that some of the allegations of inappropriate cancellations were vague, but he said those that could be followed would be examined.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has signed off on new and higher penalty points for some offences and a graduated driver licensing system to include the category of novice driver.

A novice driver covers people in their first two years after qualification. This will be denoted by an "N" plate on vehicles.

Novice and learner drivers will be subject to a new, lower threshold of six penalty points for disqualification, rather than 12.

The Bill will allow a blood sample to be taken from an unconscious driver following a serious road traffic collision, and tested when they give their consent.

Non-technological tests for impaired driving, such as walking a straight line, pupil dilation, will in future be usable as evidence in court.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar hopes to bring the Bill before the Oireachtas early in 2013.

There are also a range of changes to the penalty points system:

- Learner drivers who are driving without a qualified driver will face penalty points for the first time with two penalty points applying (four on conviction)

- Not displaying L or N plates will face penalty points for the first time, with two penalty points applying (four on conviction)

- Penalty points for mobile phone use, including the new provision related to texting, will rise from two to three points (five on conviction)

- Penalty points for speeding will rise from two to three points (five on conviction) - contingent on the conclusion of the current review of speed limits

- Penalty points for not wearing a seatbelt will rise from two to three points (five on conviction).