The Demerit Points Check scheme in Sydney and Parramatta is administered by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS). This scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving via a point system accompanying financial penalties.
So, how do demerit points work? — It’s simple. You will have zero demerit points if you haven’t committed any offence. If you commit a driving offence that holds demerit points, the points will get added to your driving record.
Licence suspension or refusal
Your licence type determines your Demerit Point Limit. When you reach or surpass your point limit, Transport for NSW can suspend your licence or decline to renew it. If that happens, you will receive a Notice of Suspension or Refusal. Demerit points last for 3 years, commencing from the date of the offence.
The Demerit Points Check shows your 3-year active demerit points plus 4 months. The additional 4 months allow time for offences or delayed appeal proceedings within 3 years to be added to your driving record. Your licence may also get suspended if you commit an excessive speed offence.
How Many Demerit Points Does One Accrue Before Being Suspended From Driving?
The law says that a driver will have their licence suspended if they accrue a specific number of demerit points within a 3-year period.
The number of points according to each licence type are as follows:
- Unrestricted licence: 13 points
- Professional drivers: 14 points
- Provisional P1 licence: 4 points
- Provisional P2 licence: 7 points
- Learner licence: 4 points
- Unrestricted licence with a good behavior period: 2 points within the term of this period.
For unrestricted licence bearers, the period of suspension depends on the number of points you gather:
- 13 to 15 points: 3-month suspension
- 16 to 19 points: 4-month suspension
- 20 or more points: 5-month suspension
For learner and P1 and P2 licence holders, the suspension period is 3 months.
Refusal of a licence
Transport for Sydney and Parramatta may refuse to renew your licence if you have surpassed your demerit point threshold or committed a severe speeding offence. The period when a licence may get denied is the same as applying for a licence suspension. The government will issue you a Notice of Refusal in this situation.
A refusal notice is only given when you attend a service center and apply for a licence or licence renewal.
Penalties for repeatedly exceeding demerit point limit
From 1st February 2015, increased penalties apply to drivers who continually surpass their demerit point limit.
Unrestricted licence holders
Unrestricted licence bearers who exceed their demerit points more than once within 5 years must complete the below mentioned things before they are licensed to drive their vehicles again:
- Pass the Driver Knowledge Test
- Finish a driver education course, such as the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, at their own cost. The driver education course must be completed by one of the approved providers in Sydney:
- Road Sense
- Blacktown Traffic Offender Program
- SAVE Traffic Offender Intervention Program
- TORP: Traffic Offenders Rehabilitation Program
- ASPIRE Traffic Offender Course
Provisional P2 licence holders
From 20th November 2017, modifications to the Graduated Licence Scheme mean that Provisional P2 drivers who are suspended for unsafe driving behavior must remain on their P2 licence for an extra 6 months.
This will apply to every suspension they receive. For instance, suppose a P2 licence holder gets a demerit point suspension. In that case, they will be on their P2 licence for the standard 24 months and an additional 6 months before applying for an unrestricted licence.
Each individual suspension delays a P2 licence holder an extra 6 months from advancing to an unrestricted licence.
Repeated drink driving offences
Drivers sentenced to 2 drink driving offences in 5 years must pass the Driver Knowledge Test before being again licensed to drive.
How Long Will It Take To Get My Demerit Points Back?
The Act states, demerit points are subject to deletion 3 years post the date of the offence for which the points are accrued.
So, for instance, if 3 demerit points are accrued for a speeding offence by more than 10km/h but less than 20km/h, those demerit points are subject to deletion 3 years after the date of your refusal notice. However, the RMS may exercise discretion to add a reasonable period to allow for payments and potential appeals for administrative grounds.
According to the RMS page, this period may be an extra 4 months.
This Act also states that all demerit points are void upon the commencement of any driver licence suspension.
Can I elect to have a good behavior licence?
Section 36 of the Act states that a full licence holder who has accrued or exceeded their demerit point limit may apply for a good behavior licence, instead of being suspended from driving.
This licence lasts for 12 months.
If any driver accrues 2 or more demerit points while on a good behavior licence, he or she will be suspended from driving as per the following table:
|Demerit Points||Original Suspension||Suspension for a breach on a good behaviour licence|
|13 to 15||3 months||6 months|
|16 to 19||4 months||8 months|
|20 or more||5 months||10 months|