For the first time since they were introduced in 1997 double-demerits will not be enforced over the October 4 long weekend this year.
While driving around the state is still largely prohibited for many people, the rationale from NSW Police is that people have had enough of strict rules and harsh penalties and there will be a temporary reprieve from the double-demerit scheme, which is usually in place over long weekends and holidays.
But, the Police Minister David Elliott has also warned that if anyone does the wrong thing on the roads they will still face the full force of the law. Mobile cameras will be operating and police will be patrolling the streets and highways.
It’s also important right now, that you check any particular Covid-related public health regulations that could impact you if you are planning a trip. For example, right now, those of us in Far Northern New South Wales (even those of us who live in the ‘border bubble’) need an exemption to cross the Queensland/New South Wales border. Regional passes are still required in other areas of the state too, and some areas are still in lockdown.
What is the double-demerits scheme?
The double demerit point scheme applies for the following types of offences:
- Illegal use of mobile phones
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Riding without a helmet
The double-demerit scheme was introduced as a way to reduce the road toll. This year alone more than 250 people have died in fatal car accidents on New South Wales roads. The figure includes accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.
How do demerit points work?
If you’re confused about how demerit points work, then you are not alone. Basically, if you haven’t committed any offences, then you have zero demerit points.
If you commit a driving offence that carries demerit points, the points are added to your driving record and they are accrued with each separate offence.
The type of license you have determines your demerit point limit. When you reach or exceed your demerit point limit, Transport NSW can suspend your licence or refuse to renew it.
Demerit points last for a 3-year period, starting from the date of the offence.
Demerit point limits
The limits are:
- Unrestricted licence: 13 points
- Professional drivers: 14 points. See Professional drivers for more information
- Provisional P2 licence: 7 points
- Provisional P1 licence: 4 points
- Learner licence: 4 points
- Unrestricted licence with a good behaviour period: 2 points within the term of the good behaviour period.
Demerit points for driving offences will accompany a fine for doing the wrong thing. It’s important to note that once you pay the fine (through Revenue NSW), you cannot challenge the demerit points attached to the offence.
Can I challenge demerit points?
If you wish to challenge the demerit points, then you need to take the entire matter to court, which includes the fine. And there’s a number of reasons people do challenge driving offences — perhaps they really don’t believe they were in the wrong, or they have already accrued a significant number of points and need to keep their driving licence for work purposes.
If you intend to challenge a driving offence, it is important to get the right legal advice before you make a decision. While local courts do have the ability to adjust the penalties for the offence, including reducing them, they also have the ability to impose more severe penalties if you are found guilty of the offence.
This post is informative only. It is not legal advice. If you have a specific legal matter you’d like to discuss, please contact us.