While you will not receive a gold star for driving responsibly, there is a more crucial incentive for doing so; your life depends on it. A good driver follows the traffic laws and pays attention to the road and surroundings. Besides potentially saving lives, excellent driving habits can save you money and time. Traffic rules in Australia vary from state to state, so drivers should know what to expect, including understanding the demerit point system. A traffic stop can get you demerit points and cost you money.
What Is A Demerit Point System?
It refers to a national scheme that gives drivers demerit points for committing traffic offenses. Once it gets to a certain number, penalties will be imposed, including license suspension. This system is designed to encourage responsible and safe driving by ensuring offenders pay for their mistakes regardless of their financial status.
Drivers should remember that the demerit points from different states go on their record. Therefore, driving interstate does not give you leeway to break traffic rules without facing penalties. The type of driver’s license you have dictates your demerit point limit. For example, getting 12 demerit points in three years leads to penalties in Victoria and Queensland and 13 in New South Wales. Professional drivers in New South Wales incur sanctions after 14 points because they spend many hours on the road.
All drivers begin with zero points which increase when they make an offense. Besides facing the penalties, you will have to retake the Driver Knowledge Test if you exceed the limit twice in 5 years.
Good Behavior Period
You will receive a Notice of Refusal or Suspension once you attain or exceed the demerit points threshold. Instead of losing your driver’s license, you can opt for a one-year good behavior period. If you collect more points during this period, your penalties will be doubled.
The latest you can apply for this period online is two business days prior to the start of the suspension. If not, you will have to visit the motor registry with the suspension letter and driver’s license.
Appealing A Suspension
You can appeal a suspension for driving 30 km/hr or 45 km/hr over the limit, under novice, special, or low range prescribed alcohol concentration, under the influence of an illicit substance, or on the spot police suspension. Remember, holders of full licenses cannot appeal if the license was suspended due to demerit points.
If you decide to launch an appeal, traffic law experts such as Astor Legal can help you because they understand the implications a suspended license has on your everyday life. Its license appeal team comprises ex-police prosecutors who know how the system operates.
Offenses That Lead To Demerit Points
Traffic offenses that carry demerit points include speeding, drink driving, violating safe driving, road or traffic rules, not wearing seat-belts or helmets, and driving while on the phone. Different factors determine how many demerit points an offense gets, including the location. For instance, driving faster than 45 km/h in Victoria can lead to the addition of 8 points to your record, while 40 km/h or higher in Queensland translates to 8 points as well.
Drivers receive double the demerits for a seat-belt, mobile phone, and motorcycle helmet-related offenses during specific periods. These periods include Anzac Day, Australia Day, New Year’s Eve, Labor Day, Queens Birthday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and Easter. You can easily lose your driver’s license if found with an offense on a busy holiday.
A clear understanding of the demerit system helps you stay out of trouble and raise your chances of keeping your license. If you have any questions about your license, it would be best to contact a reputable criminal law and traffic attorney.