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.

Learner and P1 drivers can kiss their licence goodbye for at least three months if they get four or more demerit points over three years.

P2 drivers face losing their right to drive if they get seven or more points. And once an unrestricted licence driver reaches 13 demerit points, they’ll be finding other ways to get around.

How to avoid losing points

The best and simplest way to avoid demerit points is to always drive or ride safely and sensibly. But to really spell it out:

  • Don’t speed – L and P1 plate drivers will get at least four points if they’re caught speeding, which means your licence is gone 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 and P1 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 its worth?

The number of demerit points 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

Any demerit points copped during a double demerit point holiday or public holiday long weekend for speeding, not wearing a helmet or not wearing a seatbelt are automatically doubled.

That goes for whether it’s you as the driver or one of your passengers caught not wearing a helmet or seatbelt. So if you’re caught driving without your seatbelt on the October long weekend or riding without a helmet on New Year’s Eve, you’ll cop twice as many points.

For L and P plate drivers and riders, it’s even more likely you’ll lose your licence on the spot.

If you get too many demerit points, you’ll get a suspension letter telling you when your licence is suspended, how many points you got and what you did to get them.

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 done so already – you can set one up quickly and easily.