fro [...] THE number of Tasmanian drivers losing their licences under the demerit points system for flouting road rules has more than tripled over the past four years. Figures issued by the State Government show that more than 150 drivers are losing their licence each month after reaching the demerit point limit. The figures -- requested by The Mercury -- reveal a substantial rise in the number of drivers caught in the demerit point net. In 2000-01, 844 drivers reached the point limit -- 0.3 per cent of licence holders. But in the last year the number has soared to 2769 -- 0.8 per cent of licence holders. Of those 2769 drivers, 1847 had their licence suspended for three months or more while 922 were given a good-behaviour period. Road Safety Taskforce chairman Paul Hogan said yesterday the figures seemed to show that some people were "slower learners". Infrastructure Minister Bryan Green said it was concerning that some motorists were not getting the road safety message. "Enforcement is an important part of our road safety strategy and if motorists don't modify their behaviour and continue to speed and drive under the influence, they will be caught and lose their licence," he said. Under the demerit points system, licence holders who accumulate 12 to 15 demerit points are liable to have their licences suspended for three months, 16 to 19 points for four months and over 20 points for five months. Full licence holders can opt for a period of good behaviour to retain their licence and keep driving. But if during the following 12 months they get more than one demerit point, their licence is suspended for twice the original period. Learner and provisional licence holders can be suspended if they reach four points in 12 months. Figures issued by the Government also show an increase in the number of people who have lost their licence for speeding -- 416 in 2004-5 compared with 358 in 2003-4 and 327 in the previous year. Overwhelmingly, the offenders were male -- 84 per cent compared with 16 per cent female. However, the total number of drivers caught speeding dropped in 2004-5 to 45,424 compared with 54,511 in 2003-4. Mr Hogan said many of those who lost their licence for speeding were likely to be repeat offenders. He said it was a matter a choice and people were deciding to speed. But he said those people ought to be aware -- and the figures backed it up -- that they were more likely than ever to be caught. "The brutal facts are that everybody knows right from wrong, everyone knows that speeding is a key issue in trying to reduce the road toll and road trauma," Mr Hogan said. In 2001 the Government introduced laws which resulted in the automatic suspension of licences of motorists who drive 37km/h or more over a speed limit. The figures are certain to be taken up in current debate on moves to lower Tasmania's speed limits. In June the State Government opened up for public comment radical proposals to slash speed limits. It is proposed that country road speed limits drop from 100km/h to 90km/h, highways from 110 to 100km/h and remaining 60km/h zones to 50km/h.