Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has said he hopes to bring in legislation next year which would allow for new speed checks on motorways, using number plate recognition.

Mr Varadkar has said the system of average speed detection is already in place at Dublin's Port tunnel and Cork's Jack Lynch tunnel.

However the information is not being used to prosecute drivers, as legislation is required to allow digital records from the system to be used as evidence in court.

Mr Vardakar said the system would involve two cameras being placed on a stretch of road and if a motorist breaks the speed limit between those two points, they will incur a fine.

The minister said he hopes to introduce the new legislation next year and have the system fully operational by 2015.

Mr Vardakar said the hopes the move will help to reduce the number of road deaths in Ireland, which for the first time in seven years, have increased.

"It hasn't been a good year for road safety. For the first year in seven years, we've seen a increase in the number of people dying on our roads," he said.

"The Government is very determined that next year we are going to reverse that increase, so this is part of a whole package of measures we are considering". 

Mr Vardakar said the move is one of a series of measures the Government is considering to help reduce the number of road deaths.

He added that this "is not an effort to collect lots of fines" and it would focus on accident blackspots across the country.

Mr Varadkar again appealed to motorists to take care on the roads over the festive season, urging them to slow down and never drink and drive.