Penalty points for motoring offences could be recognised on both sides of the Irish border in a move that would be first of its kind in Europe, it has been revealed.
Mutual changes would close the loophole which allows Northern Ireland motorists to escape the sanctions for offences like speeding incurred in the Republic and vice versa.
Legislation in the North and South could be in place by the end of next year.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood said the consultation launched yesterday is aimed at improving road safety.
"There is no model in Europe for the mutual recognition of penalty points by two jurisdictions," he said. "This is groundbreaking work and, in the fullness of time, it will be a template for other members of the European Union, should they choose to follow what we do."
Speeding, drink or drug-driving, not wearing seatbelts or using a mobile phone while driving will all be included in the proposed scheme.
The Republic's Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said he had agreed a detailed timetable with Mr Attwood for new legislation.
"The government in the Republic is very keen to get a working system in place and I welcome this ongoing co-operation," he said.