Demerit point reduction trial gets Parliament green light
More than 1.7 million drivers will be eligible to have a demerit point scrubbed from their licence after Parliament on Wednesday endorsed the Minns Labor Government’s trial to encourage safer driving.
The Road Transport Amendment (Demerit Point Reduction Trial) Bill 2023 passed both houses and will come into effect 6 months earlier than originally flagged.
To qualify for a demerit point to be wiped, drivers who have not incurred any demerits since 17 January will need to continue that spotless behaviour until 17 January next year. It normally takes 3 years for a demerit point to be expunged from a driver’s record.
The trial which was announced as a policy during the state election, had originally been slated to start on July 1, but the Government is determined to allow drivers who do the right thing the chance to shed a demerit point sooner.
It is expected to take about 3 months to finalise offences, so eligible drivers will start seeing one demerit point removed from mid-April 2024.
Learner and provisional licence holders are not included in the trial given they are subject to strict conditions of the NSW Graduated Licensing Scheme.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said:
“This is good news for safe driving. We want to encourage drivers to do the right thing which is why we are adding this incentive into the licence system rather than only relying on deterrents and demerits to get the road safety message through.
“Reducing the road toll and rewarding safe driving across the state is the aim of this trial and I am pleased the parliament agreed, with bipartisan support.
“It’s time we put safety back at the centre of our road rules, not revenue raising.”
Minister for Roads John Graham said:
“The demerit trial is an important carrot for drivers to remain offence-free over a 12-month period and we will closely watch the results to see if there is a net safety benefit for motorists, pedestrians, and communities.
"Under the previous government, there were almost a million demerit points on record and the road toll still rising. We are trying something different to encourage drivers to do the right thing and improve safety on our roads. We can’t expect to keep doing the same thing and get different results.”