How demerit points work
If you haven't committed any offences, you have zero demerit points. If you commit an offence that carries demerit points, the points are added to your driving record.
Licence suspension or refusal
Different licence types have different limits for demerit points. If you commit enough demerit point offences within a 3 year period that you reach or go over the limit for your licence type, your licence will be suspended, or we will refuse to renew it. If this happens, we will send you a Notice of Suspension or Refusal.
The 3 year period is calculated between the dates the offences were committed. It ends on the day your most recent offence was committed.
Your licence may also be suspended if you commit an excessive speed offence.
A Notice of Suspension or Refusal specifies the date the licence suspension or refusal begins. The imposition of a licence suspension or refusal period relies on Roads and Maritime serving a Notice.
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.
For unrestricted licence holders, the period of suspension depends on the number of points you accumulate:
- 13 to 15 points: 3 month suspension
- 16 to 19 points: 4 month suspension
- 20 or more points: 5 month suspension
For learner, P1 and P2 licence holders, the suspension period is 3 months.
Refusal of a licence
Roads and Maritime may refuse to renew your licence if you have exceeded your demerit point threshold, or you have committed a serious speeding offence. The period a licence may be refused is the same as that applying to a licence suspension. Roads and Maritime will issue you with a Notice of Refusal in this situation.
Formal refusal is only applied and a refusal notice given when you attend a registry or service centre and apply for a licence or licence renewal.
Penalties for repeatedly exceeding demerit point limit
From 1 February 2015, increased penalties apply to drivers who repeatedly exceed their demerit point limit.
Unrestricted licence holders
Unrestricted licence holders who exceed their demerit points twice within 5 years must complete the following before they are licensed to drive again:
- Pass the Driver Knowledge Test
- Complete a driver education course such as the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, at the offender’s cost. The driver education course must be delivered by one of the approved providers in NSW:
View or download the complete list of all approved driver education course providers.
For more information about the increase in traffic offender penalties see the Increased traffic offender penalties fact sheet.
Provisional P2 licence holders
From 20 November 2017 changes to the Graduated Licence Scheme mean that Provisional P2 drivers who receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour must stay on their P2 licence for an extra 6 months.
This applies to every suspension they receive. For example, if a P2 licence holder receives a demerit point suspension, they will be on their P2 licence for the normal 24 months and an extra 6 months, before being able to apply for an unrestricted licence.
Each separate suspension delays a P2 licence holder an extra 6 months from progressing to an unrestricted licence.
Repeated drink driving offences
Drivers convicted of 2 drink driving offences in a 5 year period must pass the Driver Knowledge Test before they are again licensed to drive.