New regulations have been signed by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar allowing motor insurance companies access to the penalty points database.

The move will allow insurers to check the number of points a driver has, and for the first time, what those points are for.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Varadkar said his department will be monitoring premiums to ensure that careful drivers are not subsidising the premiums of those who are more reckless.

He said that if insurance premiums do not fall for careful drivers, his department may limit insurance firms' access to the database.

"One thing that we have said to the insurance companies and we have said it very clearly is that we will be monitoring premiums and we reserve the right to withhold this information from them in the future," he said.

"So if we discover that they are using this information to their advantage and not to the advantage of their customers, well then they won't get the information any more." 

He added: "So they're kind of on probation for the next year or two to see how they use the information."