As every driver knows, demerit points, along with fines, make up the penalty system for driving licences in all Australian states. Although everyone knows what they are and aims to avoid them, there seems to be quite a lot of confusion surrounding the topic. So, to clear up some of this confusion, here’s a little breakdown of how demerit points work.
Everyone starts at 0
Nobody really seems to know if you gain or lose demerit points, so to clarify, in Australia you gain demerit points. Everybody starts at zero, and that’s where you’d hope to stay. But if you speed, use your phone while driving or break any number of road rules, you will likely have demerit points put on your license.
There is a limit to how many demerit points you are allowed to have before your license gets suspended, this is known as a demerit point threshold. This threshold differs depending on the license you have. The limits are as follows:
- Unrestricted License: 13 Points
- Professional Drivers: 14 Points
- Provisional P2 Drivers: 7 Points
- Provisional P1 Drivers: 4 Points
- Learner Drivers: 4 points
If you exceed the point threshold on your license, you will be suspended from driving. For unrestricted drivers the suspension depends on how many points you accumulate; the more points you have, the longer the suspension. If you have 13-15 points you will be suspended for 3 months, 16-19 points incurs a 4 month driving ban and if you have more than 20 points you wont be able to drive for at least 5 months! For learner and provisional drivers, the suspension is automatically 3 months.
How long do they last?
Another commonly asked question refers to how long demerit points last. The points will remain on your license for three years, so after this period is up your license will go back to zero points. It’s easy to forget something that happened three years ago, or be unsure when you actually received the points, so you are able to check the remaining time online.
Driving in different states
Many people are also unsure about what happens if they commit a demerit point offence when driving in another state. Unfortunately, getting demerit points in another state doesn’t mean they are invalid. The National Driver Licensing Scheme has been adopted by all states and enables the state the licence was granted in to apply the appropriate number of points.
When you break it down, the demerit point system isn’t really that complicated and the laws are pretty simple. Basically, if you break the law on the road, you’ll accumulate points, accumulate more points than your licence allows and you will lose your license! So be smart and stay within the law when you’re out on the road.