Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has published the Road Traffic Bill 2013, which if passed will see the introduction of drug impairment tests, "novice" driver licences, higher penalty points and the testing of unconscious drivers.

The new law would require novice drivers to display an "N" plate when driving for the first two years of their first licence.

It would also set the disqualifying level of penalty points for novice and learner drivers at six, which is half the level for other drivers.

In relation to the testing of unconscious drivers, the permission of the treating doctor will be needed before a blood sample can be taken

The results will only be revealed when the driver can, subsequently, give permission.

Roadside impairment tests for drug-driving would involve gardaí carrying out cognitive tests to establish if a driver is under the influence of an intoxicant.

Drivers will incur one more penalty point than they used to for speeding, using their mobile phone while driving and for not wearing their seatbelt.

It will be three points on payment of a fixed charge and five on conviction, which is up from two and four points.

Other offences, such as not displaying an NCT certificate, which currently involve a court appearance, will attract two points on payment of a fixed charge.