The demerit point scheme was introduced in 1969 across all states and territories in order to encourage safe driving.
In New South Wales the demerit point scheme is regulated by Part 3.2 of the Road Transport Act 2013. In this article we explore how demerit points are allocated, how many are allocated for different licence types, how demerit points work, and how long it takes to get demerit points back.
How many demerit points do I have to accrue before I am suspended from driving?
The law states that a driver will have their licence suspended if he or she accrues a specific number of demerit points within a three year period.
The number of points relating to each licence type are as follows:
- Unrestricted licence: 13 points
- Professional driver: 14 points
- Provisional P2 licence: 7 points
- Provisional P1 licence: 4 points
- Learner licence: 4 points
How long will I be suspended if I accrue these points?
Section 33 of the Act prescribes the following periods of suspension in the event demerit points are accrued or exceeded:
|Number of demerit points incurred within previous 3 years
|Period of licence suspension
|13 (or 14 in the case of a professional driver) to 15
|16 to 19
|20 or more
Can I elect to have a good behaviour licence?
This licence lasts for a period of 12 months.
If a driver accrues two or more demerit points while on a good behaviour licence, he or she will be suspended from driving in accordance with the following table:
|Suspension for a breach on a good behaviour licence
|13 to 15
|16 to 19
|20 or more
How long does it take to get my demerit points back?
According to the Act, demerit points are subject to deletion 3 years after the date of the offence for which the points are accrued.
Different offences have a different demerit point value. So, for example, if 3 demerit points are accrued for an offence of speeding by more than 10km/h but not more than 20km/h on 5 November 2023, those demerit points are subject to deletion 3 years after 5 November 2023; although, for administrative reasons, the RMS may exercise discretion to add a reasonable period, to allow for payments and potential appeals.
According to the RMS website, this period may be an additional 4 months.
The Act also states that all demerit points are deleted upon the commencement of any driver licence suspension.
In New South Wales and the ACT, ‘double demerit’ periods are operational around the holidays. These dates vary, but are well publicised in advanced by NSW Police and Transport for New South Wales. Double demerit points do not apply to all traffic offences, they specifically apply to:
How to earn back one demerit point in NSW
A new NSW Government initiative that is currently in operation allows some drivers (it will apply to about 1.7 million drivers across NSW) to have one demerit point removed from their driving record.
Drivers who have demonstrated a clean driving record between January 17 2023, and January 17 2024, will automatically qualify to have one demerit point removed from their record. Transport for NSW will automatically remove points, however drivers wanting to know if they qualify can contact Transport NSW. It has not yet been decided whether the scheme will be offered again, or on an ongoing basis.
Going to court for a traffic offence?
In 1999, the Australian Road Rules Agreement was signed by all states and territories to ensure a level of consistency in road rules and traffic offences across the nation.
This agreement also provides a platform for the demerit points system to operate across borders. In other words, if you are accused of a traffic infringement in a state that is not your ‘home’ demerit points still apply.
If you have been caught by a fixed or mobile speed camera, you will be notified by post. You will need to pay the fine by by the due date, or request a “review.” Revenue NSW is the government body which handles these processes. If the review is not to your satisfaction you can seek to dispute the matter in court.
If you have received a Court Attendance Notice (CAN), you will need to attend court. If you are going to court for a traffic offence, call or email Sydney Criminal Lawyers anytime to arrange a free first consultation with an experienced, specialist traffic lawyer who will accurately advise you of your options, the best way forward, and fight for the optimal outcome in your specific situation.