DRIVERS who fail to admit who was driving when a speeding crime was committed are set to be penalised under new laws from Monday.

A court will be able to slap six penalty points on a driverís licence, up from a current maximum of three.

The law change is in response to an increase in attempted dodging of speeding tickets by motorists claiming they cannot remember who was driving at the time of the offence.

But motoring groups say innocent drivers will be forced to confess to offences to avoid the risk of receiving a higher penalty.

And they added that drivers who made errors in filling out forms would be unfairly penalised and could lose their licences.

Under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, vehicle owners are obliged to tell police who was driving at the time of an alleged motoring offence.

The maximum fine will remain the same - up to £1,000 - but the Department for Transport believes doubling the points will be a deterrent, especially for drivers who already have points on their licences.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed anti-speed camera campaign, criticised the move.

He said: ďThis change has absolutely nothing to do with road safety - itís just spiteful. The authorities have forgotten that driving licence points were supposed to help identify risky drivers.

"Giving extra points to people who simply fumble the paperwork will further devalue the licence points system.Ē

He said drivers who shared a car or allowed others to drive it could often genuinely not remember who had been driving.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said there would still be a defence for motorists who could give a good reason why they did not know who was driving.

But she added that they would probably be required to go to court and convince magistrates of their innocence.