Demerit Points: Everything you need to know

Speed Camera Sign

The demerit points scheme is a national program administered by the New South Wales Roads & Maritime Services. It allocates a series of penalties (demerits) for various traffic offences against a person’s driver’s licence.

Each class of driver has a demerit point limit on their licence, and if this limit is exceeded within a 3-year period the licence will be suspended.

Of course this can have serious consequences on your ability to work and live your life the way you desire, so it’s important to understand your individual demerit point status and how your driving decisions can impact it.

In this article we will outline everything you need to know about demerit points:

  • Demerit point limits
  • Suspension periods
  • Common offences and their penalties
  • Double demerit periods
  • How to check your demerit point status

Demerit Point Limits

When you have no offences your demerit points are at zero. As mentioned above, each time you commit an offence demerit points will be added to your licence, and if you reach your demerit point limit within a 3-year period your licence will be suspended.

The demerit point limits are as follows:

Unrestricted licence13 points
Professional drivers14 points
Provisional P2 licence7 points
Provisional P1 licence4 points
Learner licence4 points
Unrestricted licence with a good behaviour period2 points within term of good behaviour period

Driver’s Licence Suspension Periods

Unrestricted licence holders

If you commit a serious offence or more than one offence in succession, the number of demerit points can exceed the limit. Therefore, the period of suspension depends on the amount of points accumulated:

13 – 15 points3 month suspension
16 – 19 points4 month suspension
20 + points5 month suspension

For learner, P1 and P2 licence holders, the suspension period is 3 months.

Police Car

Common Demerit Offences and Penalties

Below are some of the more common and interesting penalties, however you can view the full list of demerit penalties on the RMS website.

OffencePenalty Notice FinePointsDouble DemeritsLaw
EXCEED SPEED LIMIT
(Exceed speed 10 km/h and under (other than learner or provisional licence)CLASS A MOTOR VEHICLE
$1231YesRoad Rules 2014Rule 20
EXCEED SPEED LIMIT
(Exceed speed over 10 km/h (other than learner or provisional licence)CLASS A MOTOR VEHICLE
$2853YesRoad Rules 2014Rule 20
EXCEED SPEED LIMIT
(Exceed speed 10 km/h and under (learner or provisional licence)CLASS A MOTOR VEHICLE
$1234YesRoad Rules 2014Rule 20
EXCEED SPEED LIMIT
(Exceed speed over 10 km/h (learner or provisional licence)CLASS A MOTOR VEHICLE
$2854YesRoad Rules 2014Rule 20
OVERTAKING
Overtake to left of vehicle
$1942NoRoad Rules 2014Rule 141 (1)
PARKING
Disobey no parking sign(school zone)
$1942NoRoad Rules 2014Rule 168 (1)
OFFENSIVE NOISE FROM SOUND SYSTEM
Drive/use vehicle with sound system omitting offensive noise
$2032NoProt Env (NC)Reg 2017CI 33 (1)
LICENCE PLATES – PROVISIONAL
Not comply P/P1/P2 licence – No P plates as required
$2722NoRT (DL)Reg 2017CI 119 (1)
LANES, MERGING, EDGE LINES
Not drive within marked lane multi-lane road
$2722NoRoad Rules 2014Rule 146 (1)
U-TURNS
Make U-turn at break dividing strip contrary to sign
$2722NoRoad Rules 2014Rule 39 (1)
TRAFFIC SIGNS & ROAD MARKINGS
Disobey left lane must turn left sign
$2722NoRoad Rules 2014Rule 88 (2)
TRAFFIC SIGNS & ROAD MARKINGS
Disobey keep right sign
$2722NoRoad Rules 2014Rule 99 (2)
CRASHES – DUTIES OF DRIVER
Not give particulars to owner of damaged property
$3493NoRoad Rules 2014Rule 287 (1) & (2)(c)
MOBILE PHONES
Driver using mobile phone while not permitted
$3495YesRoad Rules 2014Rule 300Rule 300-1 (Learner or Provisional)

Double Demerit Periods

Double demerit periods were introduced in NSW in 1997, and a road safety campaign was developed in partnership with NSW police to incentivise drivers to improve their behaviour and obey the NSW traffic laws.

For offences including speeding, seatbelt, motorcycle helmet and mobile phone, double demerit points apply during some holiday periods, including:

  • Long weekends
  • Christmas
  • New Year
  • Easter

View the full list of double demerit point periods here.

As you can see from the table above, it’s very easy to reach and exceed your demerit points limit during a double demerit period; a mobile phone offence for example will cost you 10 demerit points, which takes you almost to your limit even if you had zero.

How to check your demerit point status

The online demerit check will display any active demerit points you’ve accrued within the last 3 years and 4 months. The additional 4 months allows for any unpaid penalties, or penalties delayed due to appeal proceedings, to be added to your driving record.

To check your demerit points you need:

  • A MyServiceNSW account
  • Your NSW driver licence details or the plate number of a vehicle registered in your name

Full information and links to the online service are on the Service NSW website.

What happens if you’re charged with a traffic offence or you lose your license?

You may require legal assistance, particularly  if you:

  • Are required to go to court
  • Wish to challenge a Penalty Notice
  • Have difficulties with your licence being suspended or disqualified

Of course every situation is unique, so we recommend speaking with a lawyer to find out your options so you can take appropriate action and get the best result possible.

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