Eligible professional drivers have an increased demerit points limit of 14 points.
Generally, unrestricted licence holders who reach or go over 13 demerit points are sent a Notice of Suspension, or are refused a licence if they apply for one.
Professional drivers however, have a demerit points threshold of 14 points, provided they meet the criteria.
If you can demonstrate you meet the professional driver requirements, any suspension (or refusal) applied based on 13 demerit points exactly will be withdrawn.
If you later reach or go over 14 demerit points however, you will be suspended or refused as for other unrestricted licence holders.
Professional driver status was introduced on 31 January 2011. If you are subject to a suspension or refusal period issued before 31 January 2011, you are not eligible to apply for professional driver status.
Who is eligible?
You are eligible for the increased demerit points limit if you hold an an unrestricted licence and you are a:
- Motor vehicle driver who transports goods either inter and/or intra-state, or
- Bus, taxi or hire car driver who holds an authority issued under the Passenger Transport Act 1990.
The following conditions apply:
- You must earn an income for the driving work and drive more than 20 hours per week. Volunteer drivers do not qualify
- You must have been a professional driver on the date of your last demerit point offence and on the date the notice of suspension was given (or the date you were refused a licence).
People who are not professional drivers
You do not qualify as a professional driver if:
- Driving a motor vehicle is incidental to your primary work such as a tradesperson, vehicle repairer, salesperson, carer, tow truck operator, food vendor etc
- Your primary work is driving an implement (grader, road roller, bulldozer etc)
- You have not held a licence for more than 6 months because it expired or was disqualified, and you are now applying for a licence
- Your primary work is personally driving a motor vehicle but the driving is not for the purpose of transporting goods
- Your primary work is personally driving a motor vehicle to transport people but the driving is not for the purpose of transport under the Passenger Transport Act 1990
- Your driving is only to transport yourself to your place of work or education.
Interstate licence holders are not eligible to apply for professional driver status.
Applying for professional driver status
If you qualify for professional driver status, you can make an application.
Your application will be considered if you:
- Have been issued a notice of suspension which has not yet started, or
- You have been refused a licence renewal and you have held an unrestricted NSW driver licence within the past 6 months, and
- In either case, you have accumulated exactly 13 demerit points.
An application for a professional driver status will not be considered if you have 14 or more demerit points.
You do not need to have been a professional driver for the whole period during which you accrued the demerit points, however you must have been a professional driver at the date of the last offence, which caused you to reach 13 demerit points, and also at the date the Notice of Suspension was issued or your licence renewal was refused.
Submitting your application
If you have received a notice of licence suspension in the mail, you need to visit a registry or service centre before the suspension period begins.
You will need to:
- Bring your notice of suspension with you
- Meet all the requirements for a professional driver
- Complete the Professional Driver Declaration form available from the registry or service centre
- If you are a bus, taxi or hire car driver, you will need to provide your current Driver Authority.
If you have been refused a licence renewal because you have reached exactly 13 demerit points, to apply for professional driver status your driver licence must also not have been disqualified or expired for more than 6 months.
Information required on the Professional Driver Declaration form
When completing the Professional Driver Declaration form, you will need to include:
- The company/business name of your employer (includes self employed)
- If you are a taxi driver, the name of the taxi operator(s) and taxi network(s)
- The title of the job you are employed to do (eg truck driver or bus driver)
- The number of hours per week you are paid to perform this driving work
- Confirmation that you were a professional driver at the date of your last demerit point offence and at the date you were issued a notice of suspension or the date your licence renewal was refused
- Your contact telephone number
- If you are a bus, taxi or hire car driver, the number and expiry date of your Driver Authority issued under the Passenger Transport Act 1990.
Verification of your application
Roads and Maritime may check the information you provide on your declaration. This means that your employer can be contacted about what you are employed to do, the hours you work and to verify that you are paid for that work. We can also verify that the Driver Authority issued to bus, taxi or hire car drivers is valid and current.
Important: Providing false information is a criminal offence. If the information you provide is found to be false, we may request the Police to prosecute. Heavy penalties, including a term of imprisonment, may be imposed by a court on conviction for the offence. We can also suspend your licence.
If your application is successful
If your application for professional driver status is successful:
- If a Notice of Suspension was issued, it will be withdrawn and your licence will not be suspended
- If your application for a licence renewal was refused, the refusal will be withdrawn and your licence will be renewed
- The 13 demerit points you have accrued, and all the related offences, will remain on your driving record.
Important: If you accrue more demerit points, you will be issued with a new Notice of Suspension, or a new refusal period will be applied.
If you are issued with a new Notice of Suspension or are refused a licence in future, you must submit a new application for professional driver status, as your employment as a professional driver may have ended since your last application.
If your application is unsuccessful
If Roads and Maritime determines that you do not meet the eligibility criteria for a professional driver, you will be subject to suspension or refusal as for other unrestricted licence holders.
Provided you apply before the suspension begins, you have the option to apply for a Good Behaviour Period. If you elect to be of good behaviour, you cannot apply for professional driver status in the event that you commit further demerit point offences and are being suspended as a result.
Excessive speeding and court disqualifications for serious offences
The professional driver option is part of the demerit points scheme, and so is not available if you have been suspended for an excessive speeding offence.
You are also not eligible if you have been disqualified by a court for a serious offence such as drink driving.