Driving unregistered vehicles

Driving an unregistered vehicle is illegal and potentially dangerous. If you are caught driving an unregistered vehicle, you may be fined and police may remove the vehicle's number plates on the spot, or they may seize the vehicle.

Unregistered vehicles are unlikely to be covered by Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance, and if a driver has an at-fault accident in an unregistered vehicle, the driver or registered operator could be held personally liable for compensation to any person injured.

Unregistered vehicles also pose a serious risk to the wider community as these vehicles are less likely to have had a safety inspection. To reduce this risk and to make our roads safer for everyone, vehicles detected by Roads and Maritime Services enforcement cameras can also be checked for valid registration and CTP insurance.

This means that when a vehicle is caught committing a primary offence (eg speeding), the vehicle's number plate information will be checked against Roads and Maritime Services records to determine if the vehicle was unregistered and possibly uninsured at the time of the primary offence.

In addition to any fines for the primary offence, penalty notices may be issued for vehicles found to be unregistered. Where a vehicle is also uninsured, it may be subject to an additional penalty. See unregistered vehicle penalties for more information.

If your vehicle is unregistered, go to the Get a new rego to find out how to register your vehicle.

Some drivers believe that they can get away with driving an unregistered vehicle if they stick to local streets. This is not true – many accidents occur within a short distance of a driver’s home.

When you can drive unregistered:

Unregistered light vehicles can only be driven in NSW for the purpose of obtaining registration by the most direct or convenient route:

  • To the nearest convenient motor registry.
  • To the nearest convenient vehicle inspection station or authorised safety check station to determine whether the vehicle complies with the applicable vehicle standards.
  • In the course of inspecting or testing the vehicle to determine if it complies with the applicable vehicle standards.
  • To the nearest practicable weighbridge to determine the weight of the vehicle.
  • From a motor registry or safety check station where the registration of the vehicle has been refused, to the nearest convenient place where necessary repairs can be made or where the vehicle can be garaged, unless a direction has been issued that the vehicle must not be driven before the necessary repairs have been made.
  • From an authorised safety check station to the nearest convenient place where necessary repairs or adjustments can be made or where the vehicle can be garaged.
  • To the nearest convenient office of a licensed insurer for the purpose of obtaining Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance.
  • To the nearest convenient location for any other purpose directly associated with the registration process.

If you are caught driving an unregistered vehicle by police, you may be asked to provide evidence that the vehicle is being driven for the purpose of obtaining registration. For example, a copy of the vehicle safety check inspection report or CTP insurance certificate with a receipt showing payment for that day.

You can renew your registration in person at an RMS registry, by phone, by mail, online or via the NSW Rego App.

Note:

Different rules apply to heavy vehicles (over 4.5 tonnes GVM). Please call 1300 137 302 for more information.