Demerit points explained

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Earning points is usually a good thing. Frequent flyer points, store loyalty points, or even scoring points for your soccer team.

Demerit points, on the other hand, don't work that way. In fact, it's the opposite. Earn enough points and you'll end up losing (your licence) rather than winning.

You get points by breaking the road rules. The number of points you get varies based on the rule.

Get too many points and your licence will be suspended:

  • Learner and P1 drivers will have their licence suspended for least 3 months if they get 4 or more demerit points over 3 years.
  • P2 drivers face losing their right to drive if they get 7 or more points in 3 years.
  • Unrestricted drivers are suspended when they reach 13 points in 3 years.

Also, P2 licence holders  who receive a licence suspension for unsafe driving behaviour must stay an extra 6 months on their licence for every licence suspension they receive. This happens when a P2 licence holder is suspended for a demerit point offence or a suspension for committing a higher risk road traffic offence (such as exceeding the speed limit by 30km/h or more).

It is illegal to drive with a suspended licence – you could have to pay a big fine, and might even face jail time.

How to avoid getting points

The best and simplest way to avoid demerit points is to always drive or ride safely and sensibly, and stick to the road rules.

But to really spell it out:

  • Don't speed – L and P1 plate drivers will get at least 4 points if they're caught speeding, which means your licence is suspended straight away.
  • Don't drink and drive – a no brainer really. L and P plate drivers can't drink any alcohol if they're planning to drive. If you blow more than 0.00, be ready to go to court and hand over your licence.
  • Don't use your mobile – it's illegal for L , P1 and P2 plate drivers to use a phone while driving, in any way. That includes answering or making calls (even hands-free), sending or reading text messages, updating Facebook or checking Twitter.
  • Wear your signs with pride – your L or P signs should be attached to the outside of your car, front and back. If you're spotted with them propped up on the dash or taped to the inside windows, you'll cop two demerit points and a fine. The same applies if all of the letter P cannot be seen.
  • One mate only – P1 plate drivers under 25 can carry only one passenger younger than 21 in the car with them between 11pm and 5am.

Want to know what it's worth?

The number of demerit points you get varies depending on the road rule. You can search demerit point offences and read about the demerit point rules on Roads and Maritime Services website.

Double trouble

Demerit points for speeding, not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, and mobile phone offences are doubled during long weekends and holiday periods like Easter and Christmas/New Year.

For L and P plate drivers and riders, it's even more likely you'll lose your licence on the spot if you break the rules during a double demerit period.

Check the double demerit periods for this year.

Checking your demerit points balance

You can find out how many demerit points you have on the Service NSW website.

To do this you'll need to set up an online account with Service NSW if you haven't already got one – this protects your privacy and keeps your personal information safe.