The Demerit Points Scheme is a national program that allocates penalty points (demerits) for a range of driving offences. The scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving. Along with financial penalties, demerit points provide a strong incentive to drive within the law.
A driver who has not committed any offences has zero points. If you commit an offence that carries demerit points, the points are added to your driving record.
If you incur the threshold number of demerit points within a three-year period, a licence suspension or refusal is applied. The three-year period is calculated between the dates the offences were committed. It ends on the day your most recent offence was committed.
The thresholds 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.
Suspension and refusal
Reaching or exceeding the demerit points limit results in licence suspension or refusal. Roads and Maritime Services will send you a Notice of Suspension or Refusal if you reach or exceed the number of points available for your type of licence, or 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.
For unrestricted licence holders, the period of suspension depends on the number of points accumulated:
- 13 to 15 points - three months
- 16 to 19 points - four months
- 20 or more points - five months
- For provisional and learner licence holders, the suspension period is three months.
Refusal of a licence
Roads and Maritime may refuse to renew your licence if you have exceeded your demerit points threshold, or you have committed a serious speeding offence. The periods that a licence may be refused are the same as those that apply for suspensions. 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.
Good behaviour period
Unrestricted licence holders who receive a Notice of Suspension due to the accumulation of demerit points can apply for a 12 month good behaviour period instead of serving the suspension. This option is not available to provisional or learner licence holders or those already serving a good behaviour period.
If you choose a good behaviour election, you must make it before the suspension begins. If the election is not made before the required date, then the suspension will be enforced. The relevant legislation does not give Roads and Maritime Services the discretion to reissue the suspension notice with a new date or to change a suspension to good behaviour after the suspension period has begun.
If you accumulate 2 or more demerit points while serving a good behaviour period, your licence will be suspended for double the original suspension time.
Unrestricted licence holders who reach or exceed 13 demerit points are sent a Notice of Suspension, or are refused a licence if they apply for one. However, professional drivers have a demerit points threshold of 14 points, provided they meet the criteria.
If you can demonstrate that you meet the professional driver criteria, any suspension (or refusal) that was applied based on 13 demerit points exactly will be withdrawn. If you subsequently reach or exceed 14 demerit points however, you will be subject to suspension or refusal as per other unrestricted licence holders.
See Professional drivers for more information.
To help reduce young driver deaths on our roads, learner licence holders are included in the demerit points scheme. The allocation of demerit points for certain traffic offences is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving.
Under the scheme, your learner licence will be suspended, or a licence application or renewal refused, for a period of three months if you incur four or more demerit points within a three-year period.
The minimum number of demerit points for a speeding offence committed by a learner is four. This means that your learner licence will be suspended, or your application for a learner licence refused, under the demerit points scheme for three months for any speeding offence.
You can also lose your licence for higher levels of speeding. An additional three-month suspension applies for exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 km/h and a six-month suspension applies for speeding more than 45 km/h.
Police can also suspend and confiscate your licence at the roadside for speeding more than 30 km/h over the limit or if you drive without a supervisor.
A learner driver has the right to appeal to a local court a decision to suspend or refuse a licence under the demerit points or excessive speed schemes.
Heavy penalties, including a jail sentence and disqualification from driving, may be imposed by a court if you are convicted of driving while your licence is suspended or refused.
The majority of drivers, including learners, are able to drive safely and in accordance with the law. However, drivers under 20 years of age continue to be over-represented in road crashes. The inclusion of learner licence holders in the demerit points scheme will further encourage safe driving by young people and help reduce the trauma caused by road crashes to individuals and their families and friends.
There is a right of appeal against the suspension or refusal of a learner or provisional licence on the grounds of demerit points. There is no right of appeal for unrestricted licence holders.
Double demerit points
Double demerit points apply for speeding, seatbelt, motorcycle helmet and mobile phone offences during all holiday periods such as long weekends, Christmas, New Year and Easter.
2017 double demerit periods
The double demerit points period applies from midnight of the start date to midnight on the finish date.
|Public Holiday||Gazetted Public Holiday||Double Demerit Point Periods||School days in the Double Demerit Point Period|
|Australia Day||Thursday 26 January||Midnight Tuesday 24 January to midnight Sunday 29 January (or Wednesday 25-Sunday 29 January inclusive)||Friday 27 January|
|Easter||Friday 14 April
Saturday 15 April
Sunday 16 April
Monday 17 April
|Midnight Wednesday 12 April to midnight Monday 17 April (or Thursday 13 to Monday 17 April inclusive)||Nil|
|Anzac Day||Tuesday 25 April||Midnight Thursday 20 April to midnight Tuesday 25 April (or Friday 21 to Tuesday 25 April inclusive)||Monday 24 April 2017|
|Queen's Birthday||Monday 12 June||Midnight Thursday 8 June to midnight Monday 12 June (or Friday 9 to Monday 12 June inclusive)||Friday 9 June|
|Labour Day||Monday 2 October||Midnight Thursday 28 September to midnight Monday 2 October (or Friday 29 Sept to Monday 2 October inclusive)||Nil|
|Christmas and Boxing Day||Monday 25 December
Tuesday 26 December
|Midnight Thursday 21 December to midnight Monday 1 January (or Friday 22 December 2017 to Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive)||Nil|
|New Years Day 2018||Monday 1 January||Included in the Christmas period above.||Nil|
Certain driving and parking offences attract an additional demerit point if committed in an operating school zone. Double demerit points can also apply when school zones are in operation during holiday periods. If you commit a speed, seatbelt or helmet offence during this combined period, the demerit point value applying for the school zone will be doubled.
School speed zones operate on all notified school days, including school development days. See the NSW Centre for Road Safety website for information about when school zones are in force.
Serious speeding offences
You may be disqualified or have your licence suspended for serious speeding offences:
- Driving more than 45 km/h above the speed limit – six months
- Driving more than 30 km/h but not more than 45 km/h above the speed limit – three months
In addition to the suspension and disqualification periods, these offences also carry demerit points which are added to your record. If these demerit points cause you to reach or exceed your demerit points threshold, then an additional suspension or refusal period may apply under the Demerit Points Scheme.
Licence suspension for ANY speeding offence for a learner or a provisional P1 licence holder
Holders of a learner or a provisional licence will receive a minimum of 4 demerit points for any speeding offence. This means that both learners and provisional P1 licence holders will have their licence suspended or refused for at least three months for any speeding offence. A fine is also payable - see Speeding offences.
Demerit point offences that are heard in court
If the court rules that a person is not guilty of a demerit point offence, it is the end of the matter. There are no fines to pay or demerit points to be recorded.
If a court finds a person guilty of the offence and convicts the person, the court usually orders a fine. In this case the offence will be recorded on the offender’s traffic record and RMS must apply the relevant number of demerit points. If a court finds a person guilty of the offence and dismisses the offence under Section 10(1) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, the demerit points related to the offence will not be recorded. This applies for court rulings made on and after 31 January 2011.
Demerit points age with time
Any demerit points you incur are not deleted. They remain on your driving record along with the offences they relate to. Over time, demerit points will age and there is a point in time after which they will not be counted even though they, along with other offences you have committed, have resulted in you reaching the demerit point threshold in a three-year period.
Any demerit points that are more than 40 months old will not be counted for demerit point suspension. For example, this means that a licence suspension will be applied if you incur 13 or more demerit points (14 for professional drivers) in a three-year period and all the offences are not more than 40 months old.
How to check your demerit points balance
You can check your demerit points online. As an additional security measure and to protect your personal information you will be required to establish an online account to access these transactions. The offences that will display are not more than 40 months old because these offences continue to have the potential to be counted towards suspension.
You can also request a copy of your driving record (a fee is payable) online, by phoning 13 22 13, or by visiting any registry or service centre and providing proof of identity. You will need your driver licence to obtain this information. Your driving record will show all offences and demerit points irrespective of their age. Please note that you cannot obtain details of other people's demerit points balance, driving record or personal details.
Frequently asked questions
For more information, see the frequently asked questions.