Motorists using a loophole to avoid getting penalty points will soon be prosecuted for not bringing their licence to court.

The problem arises when a motorist is summonsed to court, in many cases for ignoring a penalty point notice and fine, which they received in the post.

Between January 2014 and March 2015, more than 20,000 motorists were summonsed before the courts.

72% did not bring their licences to court, and therefore did not have the points registered.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe described the practice as utterly unacceptable.

The Department of Justice has confirmed that gardaí will shortly commence prosecutions, starting at multiple locations nationwide, targeting those not presenting their licences in court, which is an offence under road traffic legislation.

Separately, from today, gardaí have the power to make on-the-spot arrests of drivers who have been banned from driving.

Until now gardaí could only issue a court summons, a process which could take months.

Each month around 1,000 people are disqualified from driving, but 10% are later stopped driving a car by gardaí.