How demerit points work
Find out about demerit points, demerit point limits, and how long demerits last.
What are demerit points?
The demerit points system is a national program that encourages safe and responsible driving.
Demerit points are penalty points that you receive if you commit certain offences. All drivers and riders start with zero demerit points. If you drive safely and do not break any rules, you continue to have zero demerit points.
If you commit an offence while driving or riding, you may have demerit points added to your record. Offences that attract demerit points also come with a fine.
If you reach your demerit point limit, your licence can be suspended.
Demerit points can be accrued while driving anywhere in Australia. If you commit an offence outside NSW, the number of demerit points that the offence attracts in NSW may still be applied to your licence.
Demerit point limits
Your demerit limit (or demerit threshold) is the number of demerit points you can accumulate before we suspend or refuse to renew your licence. If this happens, we will send you a Notice of Suspension or Refusal. The notice will include the date your suspension or refusal period begins.
Your demerit point limit depends on the type of licence you have:
- unrestricted licence – 13 points
- professional drivers – 14 points
- provisional P2 licence – 7 points
- provisional P1 licence – 4 points
- learner licence – 4 points
- unrestricted licence during a good behaviour periodlaunch – 2 points.
If your licence is suspended, it means that you cannot drive. It is a criminal offence to drive while suspended, and heavy penalties, including a prison sentence, can apply.
For more, see Licence suspension and cancellation.
If you have a provisional P2 licence and you receive a suspension or refusal notice, you must stay on your P2 licence for an extra 6 months.
See Learners and provisional drivers for more.
Transport may refuse to renew your licence if you have:
- exceeded your demerit point limit, or
- committed a serious speeding offence.
The period a licence may be refused is the same as for a licence suspension.
You will only receive a formal refusal notice when you attend a service centre and apply for a licence or try to renew your licence.
How long do demerit points last?
Demerit points stay active on your licence for a 3-year period, starting from the date of the offence. After 3 years, demerit points will not be counted as active on your licence, and will not accumulate with any new demerit points you earn.
However, all demerit points you receive stay on your driving record, even after the 3-year period. If you continue to break the law, old demerit points may be taken into consideration by a court when deciding the severity of your penalty.
The 40-month rule
Most offences and their demerit points are recorded within 4 months of the date of an offence. Occasionally, an offence and its demerit points may not be recorded within that period. This might be due to appeal proceedings or other delays.
So that you are not unfairly impacted by an old offence, Transport will not count demerit points that are more than 40 months old (3 years and 4 months) towards a suspension.
Use the demerit point check to see if you have any active demerit points on your licence.
Double demerit periods
Some driving offences attract twice the number of demerit points during holiday periods. These offences include:
- speeding offences
- seatbelt offences
- motorcycle helmet offences
- mobile phone offences.
See upcoming double demerit periods on the Centre for Road Safety websitelaunch.
School zones and demerits
Some driving and parking offences can attract additional demerit points if you commit them in a school zone.
School speed zones operate on all school days, including school development days, when teachers may be at the school.
Double demerits can also apply in school zones during holiday periods. You can lose your licence if you commit an offence in an operating school zone during a holiday period. The larger number of demerit points that would apply to the school zone will be doubled.
For information about when school zones are operating, see the Centre for Road Safety websitelaunch.
Repeatedly exceeding your demerits limit
If you repeatedly exceed your demerit point limit, increased penalties will apply to you.
Unrestricted licence holders
If you exceed your demerit point limit twice within 5 years, you will not be able to drive again until you:
- pass the Driver Knowledge Test
- complete a driver education course such as the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, at your cost. The program must be delivered by a Transport-approved provider.
View or download the complete list of all approved providers.