Demerit points relief for safe drivers
All unrestricted NSW licence holders – including professional drivers – are eligible for a demerit point trial that aims to reward responsible driving behaviour.
During the trial, if an eligible driver maintains an offence-free record during the trial period, one demerit point will be removed from their driving record.
The trial will run from 17 January 2023 until 16 January 2024. There is no need to register for the trial, as all unrestricted licence holders are automatically included.
At the completion of the trial, we will identify those eligible for the deduction of a demerit point. The demerit point deduction is expected to start in mid-April 2024 and the processing period will take approximately six months to complete.
Learner and provisional licence holders are not included in the trial.
Did you know?
All licence holders start with zero demerit points. As a licence holder commits an offence that has a demerit point penalty, the points are then added to their driving record.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will the trial start?
The start of the trial has been backdated to 17 January 2023.
Why was the start date of this trial backdated to January from the previously announced start date of 1 July 2023?
By starting this trial from 17 January 2023, the NSW Government aims to promptly deliver on their promise to the NSW community to reward safe drivers.
If we had started the trial on the previously announced date of 1 July 2023, deserving drivers in NSW would not have seen their demerit points removed until the last quarter of 2024. The Premier has advised that this timeframe is too delayed for the Government's standards.
What happens if I currently have no demerit points and remain demerit point free over the 12 months – will I get an extra demerit point removed as a reward?
No – the trial does not affect drivers who have no active demerit points. Those drivers will not receive any point credits.
The trial encourages safer driving practices of drivers with demerit points. Drivers who do not commit offences already benefit in that there are no fines to be paid and no risk of licence suspension through the accumulation of demerit points.
Drivers who maintain clean driving records can be rewarded with discounted Compulsory Third Party insurance premiums.
Do I need to register to be a part of the trial?
No, unrestricted licence holders, including professional drivers, with active demerit points recorded on their licence will be identified for inclusion in the trial.
At the completion of the 12-month trial period, Transport will identify those eligible for removal of a demerit point. This may take up to 10 months to complete.
How will the customers be notified about the trial?
Communication has started about the trial via updates to the website, email, social media and Service NSW.
How will Transport identify which licence holders qualify to have one demerit point removed at the end of the trial?
The trial will start by identifying unrestricted licence holders with current demerit points on 17 January 2023. This information will be captured in the second half of 2023 to allow for offences committed up to 17 January 2023 to be finalised and recorded on their traffic history.
At the end of the 12-month trial and the subsequent review period, drivers that started the trial with demerit points and have remained offence-free throughout the trial period will have a demerit point removed.
What legislative changes are required for this trial and why?
The Road Transport Act previously did not permit the removal of a demerit point unless it had been added to the register in error.
The Act has been amended to permit the removal of a demerit point under specified circumstances.
These legislative changes were required to return a point to qualifying licence holders at the end of the 12-month trial.
When can eligible licence holders expect to get one point back?
The demerit point deduction is expected to start in mid-April 2024 and the processing period will take approximately six months to complete.
- Following the trial there will be a reconciliation period.
- This will give Transport time to confirm that each eligible driver has not committed an offence during the trial period.
- It can take some time for offences to be notified to Transport. For example, camera detected offences can take some time to be added to a persons’ driving record.
- Offences that are appealed to court may take a number of months to be resolved.
- The reconciliation period will help ensure that only eligible drivers get a demerit point removed from their record.
- The demerit point summary on the Service NSW (Service) demerit point checker app will not show the demerit point reduction when it’s applied to a customer's record. However, the point reduction will be reflected in the demerit point total which will be adjusted during the six-month processing period that begins in April 2024. It is best to check your demerit point total prior to this date. Customers can view an accurate reading on the Service website to track deductions.
What IT changes are required to take place before the start of the trial?
No significant IT changes are expected to be needed for the start of the trial.
What road safety outcomes are expected to come from this trial?
The NSW Government aims to encourage drivers to make responsible decisions on our roads to ensure the safety of themselves and others through this trial.
Road safety is a shared responsibility.
Transport will examine the outcome of this 12-month trial to assess any road safety impact of demerit point changes and the effectiveness of the changes.
What are the current incentives available for good drivers?
Drivers who receive an infringement for speeding by not more than 10km/h and have a 10-year clean driving record can request a review by Revenue NSW and may receive a caution instead of their penalty. Demerit points are not recorded, and a fine does not apply if a caution is issued.
How many demerit points will trigger a suspension for each type of licence in NSW?
- Unrestricted licence – 13 points
- Professional drivers – 14 points
- NSW has a higher demerit point threshold than the national agreed number of 12 demerit points, with 13 points for unrestricted drivers and 14 points for professional drivers
- Provisional P2 licence – 7 points
- Provisional P1 licence – 4 points
- Learner licence – 4 points\
Note: Learner and Provisional P1 and P2 Licence holders will not be included in the trial as these drivers are subject to the strict conditions of the Graduated Licensing Scheme.
What is the current demerit point system in NSW?
The demerit point scheme in NSW is based on a nationally agreed system and is aimed at changing driver behaviour, particularly the behaviour of repeat offenders.
Demerit point schemes have been shown to shift unsafe driver behaviour, particularly as drivers move closer to their limit.
It generally takes multiple offences to reach the demerit point limit and face the risk of a licence sanction, except for serious offences or learner and provisional licence holders (which have lower demerit point thresholds).
As of December 2022, 65 per cent of NSW licence holders (3.8 million drivers) had no demerit points. Less than six per cent of all NSW licence holders had more than six demerit points.
How long do demerit points last?
Demerit points are not recorded on the date of an offence – they are recorded when the offence is finalised – which is either:
- when a person pays a penalty notice,
- when the penalty notice goes to enforcement, or o if the matter is dealt with in court, where a court issues a conviction for an offence. Because of this, a person may accumulate demerit points within a three year period that takes them over the threshold. But the offence that resulted in some of the earlier demerit points may have been committed months previously.
- Transport does not count demerit points towards a suspension where the offence that gave rise to the recording of those demerit points is more than 40 months old.
Understanding demerits points and the language used around them
A driver starts with zero demerit points.
As a licence holder commits an offence that has a demerit point penalty, they are then added to their driving record.
Therefore, in this trial, an unrestricted licence holder is rewarded by the removal of a demerit point – taking them closer towards having zero demerit points on their licence – not returning a demerit point.
What happens to the demerit points after 40 months from the offence date? Will the rest of the demerit points be returned?
Yes, demerit points for offences over 40 months old are not considered for the purposes of imposing a demerit point sanction and this policy position remains unchanged.
Will it end at 11.59pm on 16 January 2024?
The trial period will end at midnight on 16 January 2024 as stated. However, there will be ongoing work after that date by Transport to adjust records for eligible drivers and this could take some time to complete given the high volume of drivers anticipated to require the removal of a demerit point.
Unrestricted licence during good behaviour period, are they eligible for this demerit point trial?
Yes. Drivers subject to good behaviour will be eligible for the trial as they’re an unrestricted licence holder. The removal of a demerit point during the trial period will not end or change the good behaviour period of a person’s driver licence.
Will the 50 per cent discount under the 'Fair Go' policy still apply for drivers with no driving offence for five years?
In the 2022-23 Half-Yearly Budget Review noted that the Fair Go for Safe Drivers Scheme was to be closed.
Following necessary system changes, the Fair Go for Safe Drivers Scheme is expected to end in February 2024.
What are the next steps after the trial period?
At the end of the trial period on 16 January 2024, the following licence holders are eligible for the one demerit point to be removed:
- Have not committed* any driving/traffic offences between 17 January 2023 and 16 January 2024
- Have not had their licence suspended due to fine default for a period of three months or more
- Have not had their driver licence expired for six months or more during the trial period
- Have not served a period of police suspension˄
- Still have active demerit points ̿on their driving record.
* If a driver has had the one demerit point removed and an offence committed during the trial period is then recorded on their driving record, the removal of this demerit point will be reversed by Transport and the correct demerit point total applied to their driver licence. Any driver who has not had a demerit point removed due to an offence being recorded on their driving record, which is later removed, will have the demerit point removed when notification of the offence being removed has been received by Transport.
˄ If a driver is issued with a police suspension and the offence that led to the police suspension is withdrawn by the Police or not enforced by the Police, the driver is still eligible for the demerit point removal as an offence is not recorded on their driving record. If the offence is recorded on the record, the driver is not eligible for the removal of one point.
̿ If all of a driver's demerit points expire during the trial period and their total is zero on 16 January 2024, no demerit points will be removed due to the zero balance.
In partnership with NSW police, we've developed the Double Demerits - Enforcement road safety campaign to encourage safe driver behaviour on our roads. The campaign reminds drivers and riders that during double demerit periods the penalties for breaking the road rules are more severe.
The demerit point system provides an incentive for drivers to improve their driving behaviour, obey road rules and comply with NSW traffic laws.
Upcoming double demerit periods
Public holiday periods
Double demerit periods
Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day
22 December 2023 to 1 January 2024
25 January to 28 January 2024
28 March to 1 April 2024*
24 April to 28 April 2024
7 June to 10 June 2024*
4 October to 7 October 2024
Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day
20 December 2024 to 1 January 2025
*On Thursday 28 March 2024 and Friday 7 June 2024, school zones are in operation. Additional penalties can apply for certain offences committed in school zones.
Get caught speeding, using a mobile phone illegally, or not wearing a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet during double demerit periods, and you’ll face double the points, not double the fine. You can stop it or cop it.
Search demerit point offences on the NSW Government website.