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More than a million of eligible drivers across New South Wales will have a demerit point wiped from their record, due to keeping a clean driving record for at least 12 months.

It is estimated that 1.3 million motorists are eligible, due to the scheme which was introduced as part of one of the Minns’ state government’s election promises.

This means that motorists who have maintained a clean driving record for at least 12 months (17 January 2023 – 17 January 2024) can have a demerit point wiped.

It is expected that it will take about three months to finalise offences, meaning that points are expected to be removed from records starting in mid-April 2024.

“Drivers in NSW are very much used to the stick approach, so this demerit trial is an important carrot for them to maintain a clean record over a 12-month period to the benefit of all motorists, pedestrians, and communities.

“Under the previous government, there were almost a million demerit points on records, yet the road toll was rising. Now is the time to try the carrot approach and reward good behaviour.” explained Minister for Roads, John Graham

Due to the success of the scheme, it has been extended for another year.

At the commencement of 2023, there were 1.7 million drivers in the state with demerit points on their record. Since 2023, around 400,000 drivers have committed a further driving offence that carried at least one demerit point, but 1.3 million have kept a clean record.

These drivers will now have a further opportunity in 2024 to have another point scrubbed from their licence record if they don’t have any infractions for another 12 months.

“Our message couldn’t be clearer: drive safely and you’ll get a point scrubbed from your licence. The more people who qualify for a point, the safer our roads.” said NSW Premier, Chris Minns.

The scheme is only applicable to full driver licence holders, with learner and provisional licence holders not included given they are subject to strict conditions of the Graduated Licensing Scheme.

Ordinarily in New South Wales, demerit points last for 3 years, which commences from the date of the offence.

Demerit points are ‘penalty points’ that are incurred if you commit certain traffic offences.

All drivers and riders start with zero demerit points, however, if you incur demerit points and reach the demerit point limit, your licence can be suspended.

Your demerit point limit depends on the type of licence you have, with the different limits being:

  • 13 points – unrestricted ‘full’ licence,
  • 14 points – professional drivers (i.e., bus, taxi or hire car driver or if drivers who transports goods, within NSW or interstate),
  • 7 points – provisional P2 licence,
  • 4 points – provisional P1 licence,
  • 4 points – learner licence,
  • 2 points – unrestricted licence during a good behaviour period (i.e., good behaviour licence).

Section 33 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) provides that that following periods of suspension may be applicable which are dependent on the number of points incurred within the previous 3 years:

  • 13 (or 14 in the case of a professional driver) to 15 = 3 months,
  • 16 to 19 = 4 months,
  • 20 or more = 5 months.

If you are on an unrestricted ‘full’ licence, who has exceeded your demerit point limit you may apply for a good behaviour licence, instead of being suspended from driving.

In order to obtain a ‘good behaviour licence’, you will need to apply before your suspension begins.

This licence lasts for a period of 12 months.

However, where a driver accrues two or more demerit points while on a good behaviour licence, they will face a harsher period of suspension being twice the original suspension period, which is:

  • 13 (or 14 in the case of a professional driver) to 15 = 6 months,
  • 16 to 19 = 8 months,
  • 20 or more = 10 months.

You are unable to appeal this licence suspension or apply for a further good behaviour period to avoid suspension.

By Poppy Morandin.

Published on 29/01/2024

AUTHOR Poppy Morandin

Poppy Morandin is the managing law clerk and an integral part of the team of criminal lawyers at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia . She's also a part of CDLA's content article production team. Poppy is passionate about law reform and criminal justice.

View all posts by Poppy Morandin