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Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current as at September 2021, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information or the websites referenced.

Find out how many demerit points you get for common traffic offences in your state or territory and whether double demerits apply during public holidays, like Easter, Anzac Day long weekend, and Christmas.

If you’re caught committing a traffic offence in Australia, you’re likely to earn yourself some unwelcome demerit points (not to mention a fine). These points are effectively black marks on your driving record and may affect your insurance policy if you exceed the maximum allowable points.

The number of demerits can vary, according to the type of offence, the severity of the offence and the time of year (e.g., public holidays — when double demerits apply in some states and territories).

The maximum number of demerits you can accumulate, before receiving a sanction, varies according to your licence type (learner, provisional or full licence). 

If you accumulate more than the maximum number allowed within a specified period, your transport authority can sanction you by suspending your licence (typically for a minimum of three months) or giving you the option of keeping your licence and continuing to drive for a good behaviour period.

In this article, we explore the rules around double demerit points as of September 16, 2021, which apply to common traffic offences committed by car (C class) licence holders in each state and territory and reveal each jurisdiction’s demerit point limits.

States / territories that do and don’t issue double demerits

The rate of road fatalities is said to increase during public holiday periods, which makes sense.

This is when there are more drivers — some travelling longer distances than usual on unfamiliar roads, including at night.

In a bid to minimise the road toll, some state and territory governments impose double demerit points during these periods, including long weekends.

This is designed to coax drivers into being extra careful on the road. Below is a current list of all states and territories that enforce double demerit points.

State / territory Double demerit points during public holidays
Australian Capital Territory~  
Northern Territory  
New South Wales  
Queensland*  
South Australia  
Tasmania  
Victoria  
Western Australia  

* Queensland has year-round double demerits for drivers who commit the same type of offence more than once in 12 months.

Double demerits Australian Capital Territory

~In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) only certain offences incur double demerits during public holiday periods. All other traffic offences incur one extra demerit point during these periods.

See all public holidays in the ACT

Double demerits ACT

Offence Standard demerits Double demerits
Exceeding the speed limit by less than 15km/h 1 2
Driving without a seatbelt 3 6
Exceeding the speed limit by at least 15km/h but not more than 30km/h 3 6
Disobeying a traffic signal 3 6
Riding a motorcycle without a helmet 3 6
Using a mobile phone while driving — calls (except hands-free) 3 6
Using a mobile phone while driving — texting, social networking etc. 4 8

Extra demerits ACT

Offence Standard demerits Extra (+1) demerit
Following too closely 1 2
Failing to dip headlamps 1 2
Failing to keep left 2 3
Improper overtaking and passing 2 3
Failing to give way 3 4
Driving with unrestrained passengers under legal age 3 4

Demerit point limits ACT

Maximum points you can accumulate in the ACT before you receive a driver-licence sanction
Learner licence 12 or more points Within 3 years
Provisional licence 4 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence 12 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence — good behaviour period 2 or more points Within 12 months

Double demerits Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is one of the jurisdictions in Australia that does not double demerit points at any time of year, including public holidays.

See all public holidays in the NT

Demerits NT

Offence Standard demerits Double demerits
Exceeding the speed limit by up to 15km/h 1 Not applicable
Learner or provisional driver without L or P plates 2
Failure to wear a seatbelt* 3
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 15km/h but not more than 30km/h 3
Failure to obey red traffic light 3
Using a mobile phone 3

*Demerits do not apply to unrestrained adult passengers (aged 16 and over).

Demerit point limits NT

Maximum points you can accumulate in the ACT before you receive a driver-licence sanction
Learner licence 4 or more points
or
12 or more points

Within 12 months

Within 3 years

Provisional licence 5 or more points
or
12 or more points

Within 12 months

Within 3 years

Full licence 12 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence — good behaviour period 2 or more points Within 12 months

Double demerits New South Wales

NSW has a long list of traffic offences that incur demerit points.

However, only a small proportion are subject to double demerit points during public holiday periods.

See all public holidays in NSW

Double demerit points NSW

Offence Standard demerits Double demerits
Exceeding the speed limit by 10km/h or less (full licence) 1 2
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 10km/h but not more than 20km/h (full licence) 3 6
Riding a motorcycle without a helmet (rider alone) 3 6
Driver or passenger not wearing a seatbelt 3 6
Exceeding the speed limit by 10km/h or less (learner or provisional licence) 4 8
Driving using a mobile phone when not permitted (full licence) 5 10
Learner or provisional driver using a mobile phone while driving 5 10

Notes:

  1. If you're caught speeding in a school zone, you'll incur more demerits.
  2. If two or more passengers are unrestrained, you'll incur 6 demerit points — 12 during public holiday periods.

Demerit point limits NSW

Maximum points you can accumulate in NSW before you receive a driver-licence sanction
Learner licence 4 points Within 3 years
Provisional P1 licence 4 points Within 3 years
Provisional P2 licence 7 points Within 3 years
Full licence 14 points Within 3 years
Full licence — good behaviour period 2 or more points Within 12 months

Double demerits Queensland

Unlike the other states and territories, the Queensland Government doesn’t double its demerit points only during public holiday periods.

Instead, motorists who commit a specific offence (e.g., excessive speeding, mobile phone offence) and then re-offend within 12 months receive double demerits for the second or subsequent offence, no matter what time of year it is.

See all public holidays in QLD

Double demerits QLD

Offence Standard demerits Double demerits
Following too closely to the vehicle in front 1 2
Exceeding the speed limit by less than 13km/h 1 2
Driving in the right lane on a multi-lane road with a sign-posted speed limit of more than 80 km/h (without an excuse) 2 4
Failure to wear a seatbelt 3 6
Exceeding the speed limit by at least 13km/h but not more than 20km/h 3 6
Failing to stop for a red traffic light or arrow 3 6
Using a mobile phone illegally while driving 4 8

Notes:

  1. The offence doesn’t need to be the same — just one within the same offence group, e.g., ‘Keeping left’, ‘Seatbelt’, ‘Speeding’.

Demerit point limits QLD

Maximum points you can accumulate in QLD before you receive a driver-licence sanction
Learner licence 4 or more points Within 12 months
Provisional licence 4 or more points Within 12 months
Full licence
12 or more points Within 3 years
Provisional licence — good behaviour period 2 or more points Within 12 months
Full licence — good behaviour period 2 or more points Within 12 months

Double demerits South Australia

South Australia is one of the jurisdictions in Australia that does not double demerit points at any time of year, including public holidays.

See all public holidays in SA

Demerits SA

Offence Standard demerits Double demerits
Failing to keep a safe distance behind other vehicles 1 Not applicable
Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h 2
Exceeding the speed limit by at least 10km/h but less than 20km/h 3
Failing to stop for a red traffic light 3
Failing to wear a seatbelt (driver or passenger 16 years of age or older) 3
Using a mobile phone while driving (learner or P1 licence) 3
Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving (full licence) 3

Demerit point limits SA

Maximum points you can accumulate in SA before you receive a driver-licence sanction
Learner licence 4 or more points Within 3 years
Provisional licence 4 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence 12 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence — good behaviour period 2 or more points Within 12 months

Double demerits Tasmania

Tasmania is another of the jurisdictions in Australia that does not double demerit points at any time of year, including public holidays.

See all public holidays in TAS

Demerits TAS

Offence Standard demerits Double demerits
Following another vehicle too closely to stop safely 1 Not applicable
Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h 2
Exceeding the speed limit by 10km/h to 14km/h 2
Driving in a right-hand lane on a multi-lane road (in an over 80km/h zone or keeping left unless overtaking sight) when not permitted 2
Exceeding the speed limit by 15km/h to 22km/h 3
Driver failing to wear a seatbelt or ensure a passenger (aged 16 or over) is restrained 3
Failing to stop on a red traffic light or arrow 3
Driving using a mobile phone (except to make or receive calls from a phone secured in its mounting or that doesn't need to be touched). 3

Demerit point limits TAS

Maximum points you can accumulate in TAS before you receive a driver-licence sanction
Learner licence 4 or more points Within 12 months
Provisional licence 4 or more points Within 12 months
Full licence 12 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence — good behaviour period 1 point Within 12 months

Double demerits Victoria

Victoria is also one of the jurisdictions in Australia that does not double demerit points at any time of year, including public holidays.

See all public holidays in VIC

Demerits VIC

Offence Standard demerits Double demerits
Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h 1 Not applicable
Following too closely 1
Failure to keep left 2
Exceeding the speed limit by at least 10km/h but less than 25km/h 3
Disobeying traffic lights, signs or police or authorised person directing traffic 3
Driving with an unrestrained passenger 3
Using a mobile phone illegally while driving 4

Demerit point limits VIC

Maximum points you can accumulate in VIC before you receive a driver-licence sanction
Learner licence 5 or more points

Within 12 months

 

Learner licence
12 or more points Within 3 years
Provisional licence 5 or more points

Within 12 months

 

Provisional licence
12 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence1 12 or more points Within 3 years

The full licence limit also applies to residents with a full car licence and a motorcycle learner permit, or a full motorcycle licence and a car learner permit.

Double demerits Western Australia

Western Australia doubles demerits during public holiday periods, including long weekends.

If a long weekend public holiday falls on a Friday, the holiday period is considered to start the day before (i.e., Thursday) and end on Sunday.

If a long weekend public holiday falls on a Monday, the holiday period is considered to start the previous Friday and end on Monday.

See all public holidays in WA

Double demerits WA

Offence Standard demerits Double demerits
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 9km/h but not more than 19km/h 2 4
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 19km/h but not more than 29km/h 3 6
Driving through a red light 3 6
Using a mobile phone illegally while driving1 3 6
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) equal to or above 0.05 but less than 0.06 (first offence)2 3 6
Driving with a prescribed illicit drug present in your oral fluid or blood (first offence) 3 6
Failure to wear a seatbelt or child restraint 4 8
Driving a vehicle fitted with a device, or in a manner, designed to evade detection by a speed camera 7 14

1 From 1 July 2020, the demerits will be 3 for touching or holding a phone to make voice calls (6 during public holiday periods); and 4 for texting, using social media, etc. (8 during public holiday periods).

2 Learner drivers should only drive at a 0.00 BAC.

Demerit point limits WA

Maximum points you can accumulate in WA before you receive a driver-licence sanction
Learner licence 4 or more points Within 3 years
Provisional licence (held less than 1 year) 4 or more points Within 3 years
Provisional licence (held more than 1 year but less than 2) 8 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence 12 or more points Within 3 years
Full licence — good behaviour period 2 or more points Within 12 months

What is a good behaviour period?

In all states and territories, if you accumulate more demerit points than your licence allows, you’ll be given the option of having your licence suspended (typically for a minimum of three months) or continuing to drive for a ‘good behaviour period’ of one year.

If you opt for the good behaviour period, you’ll be given a drastically reduced limit of one — or more commonly — two demerit points.

If you incur this number of demerits or more during the 12-month period, your licence will be suspended for twice as long as the original suspension (e.g., six months instead of three).

That’s why, in Western Australia, it’s known as double or nothing!

In most jurisdictions, novice drivers (i.e., learners and provisional licence holders) are not eligible for good behaviour periods.

One of the exceptions is Victoria, where even learner permit holders can opt for what is officially known as an ‘extended demerit point period’.

Another is South Australia, which allows provisional licence holders to avoid a six-month disqualification if they enter into a ‘Safer Driver Agreement’.

Leniency and other options

In some states and territories, drivers can also appeal for leniency if the loss or their licence would cause undue hardship. For example, if it meant they or their family would:

  • be unable to get urgent medical treatment for an illness, disease, or disability
  • lose their main source of income
  • have no other transport to and from work.

The following table summarises what other options, if any, are available in each state and territory:

Jurisdiction Other options (if any)
ACT In certain scenarios, drivers can apply for a restricted licence. For example, first-time drink-driving offenders who recorded a BAC of less than 0.1%. However, drivers who exceed their demerits limit are not eligible for one.
NT A licence suspension under the territory's demerit points scheme cannot be appealed or reviewed in any court. 
NSW

Learner and provisional licence holders can appeal to a local court if their licence is suspended because they accumulated too many demerit points. Full licence holders cannot appeal.

QLD

If a licence suspension would cause extreme hardship to you and your family, you may be eligible to apply for a special hardship order. This is a court order that allows a suspended driver to drive under restricted and specific circumstances.

SA

Apart from the goods behaviour period, there's no way someone who has exceeded their demerits limit can continue to drive.

TAS

Drivers who are eligible for a good behaviour period cannot apply for a restricted, or probationary licence (which enables you to continue to drive subject to certain conditions).

VIC

If your licence is suspended, you cannot appeal the decision on the grounds it would cause you undue hardship.

WA

An Extraordinary Driver's Licence (EDL) can allow someone disqualified from driving to drive in certain circumstances. However, a person disqualified from driving for accumulating too many demerits cannot apply for an EDL.

Checking your demerit points history

All drivers start with zero points. If you accrue 12 or more demerit points within a 3-year period you will be liable for disqualification.

Jurisdiction Other options (if any)
ACT

To see how many active demerit points you have on your driver’s licence, you’ll need to apply for your ACT licence history. You can choose to see the infringements recorded against your driver’s licence over the past three, five, or 10 years.

NT

Check online or call the Motor Vehicle Registry (MVR) on 1300 654 628.

NSW

Check online or contact a NSW service centre.

QLD

Check online

SA

Check online

TAS

Call Service Tasmania on 1300 13 55 13 (within Australia) or +61 3 6169 9017 (from overseas).

VIC

Call 1300 728 977 or visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre

WA

Check online or call the Demerit Point Hotline on 1300 720 111.

How to find your driving history

Demerit points are documented in your driving history, which shows the infringements recorded against your licence over the past five to ten years (depending on which state you live in).

Demerit points and your insurance

Insurers base your policy cost on a range of factors, like age, gender, claims and driving history.

Insurers will make a risk assessment when determining whether to offer insurance. Those people with a higher number of claims or driving offences/suspensions, may not be offered insurance, or may be offered insurance but with a higher premium.

As long as you hold a valid driver’s licence or learner’s permit you can apply for Budget Direct car insurance.

At Budget Direct we consider anything relevant to our decision to insure you as part of your application. If we offer you cover you’ll get to experience a range of benefits you can tailor to suit you and your circumstances.

Learn about Budget Direct's Car Insurance policy options

Frequently asked questions

How do demerit points work?

Each time you commit a traffic offence, you may receive one or more demerit points. If you accumulate more than you’re allowed within 12 months or three years (whichever timeframe is applicable), you can lose your driver’s licence.

Do you lose or gain demerit points?

You don’t lose demerit points, you gain them. In other words, you start with zero demerit points and they’re added to your driver’s licence when you commit certain traffic offences.

If I exceed my demerits limit, how long will my licence be suspended?

If you exceed your demerits limit, your licence is likely to be suspended for a minimum of three months. Depending on how much they exceed the limit, full licence holders can receive longer suspensions of four or five months while learners or P plate drivers only receive three months. If you’re eligible, you can choose to continue driving for a good behaviour period.

When do demerit points expire?

Typically, demerit points expire:

  • after being on your driver’s licence for 12 months or three years (whichever timeframe is applicable)
  • when you receive a licence suspension notice for exceeding your demerits limit (your demerits then reset to zero).
How long do demerit points remain on your record?

While demerit points on your driver’s licence eventually expire (see question above), they remain on your driver record or traffic history permanently.

Do you get demerit points for drug or drink driving?

Drug or drink driving incurs demerit points only in some Australian states and territories. Depending on the severity of the offence, drug and drink drivers can be fined heavily, incur a long-term disqualification from driving and/or be imprisoned.

What if I commit a traffic offence in another state?

If you commit a traffic offence in another state or territory, demerit points may be added to your driver’s licence — as if you’d committed the offence in your state or territory.

What happens if my provisional licence is suspended because of demerits?

If your provisional licence is suspended because of demerits, and depending on which state or territory you live in, one of the following may happen:

  • Your P1 provisional period will start again
  • Your P1 or P2 provisional period will be extended by the length of the licence suspension.