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Tougher speeding penalties proposed

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More stringent penalties to deal with speeders and motorists who exhibit other "excessive behaviour" are to be put forward by ministers in an attempt to cut road deaths.

Plans to punish drivers who break the speed limit by a large margin with up to six penalty points are expected to be in the proposals. If this does come into law, drivers could be banned after just two offences.

Other measures will target drink drivers and those who put lives at risk by taking to the wheel under the influence of narcotics.

Provisional Government figures showed this month that the number of people killed on the roads in spring this year fell by 20% compared with the same period in 2007.

There were 580 fatalities in April-June 2008 compared with 721 in the same three months last year, the statistics showed.

But Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick believes more can be done to cut the numbers further and will outline the proposals in a written statement to the Commons.

Mr Fitzpatrick said that the law may need to change so that drivers who take illegal drugs could be prosecuted.

"There is no legislation in place like drink-driving where we could clearly, easily prosecute anybody who does have illegal drugs in the system which is impairing their ability to drive," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

The plans will be the subject of a three-month consultation.

© Press Association 2008