With riders grounded in most states by the travel restrictions it almost seems pointless that some states have double demerits applying over the Easter long weekend.
The “pointless points” start this morning and will end at midnight on Monday 13 April 2020 in NSW, the ACT and Western Australia.
In NSW, they’re calling it Operation Tortoise and point out that holiday travel is not allowed as it is not “essential” during the pandemic lockdown.
The only time you could be fined on your motorcycle in NSW this Easter is if you are speeding to the supermarket to get another bag of Doritos or in your rush to get the doctor!
Be aware that one high-range speeding offence could be enough to get your licence suspended for several months under double demerit points.
Note that double demerit points are separate to any on-the-spot fines for disobeying a stay-at-home directive.
Double demerits danger
In “normal times”, riders from Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia passing through NSW, ACT or WA during any declared holiday period do not cop the double demerits.
With borders now closed, that’s not possible anyway.
However, Queensland riders should note that double-demerit points are effectively in place all year round.
The law in Queensland is that double points do apply to speeding offences of 21km/h or greater over the speed limit and seatbelt offences if they occur more than once within a 12 month period.
If you incur the penalty in another state, it still applies as if it happened in Queensland.
Lawyer Stephen Hayles of Macrossan and Amiet Solicitors says he has been asked by clients about the system after copping a fine in an applicable state.
“For example if you commit two speeding offences of driving 21km/h over the speed limit in a 12 month period, you will be allocated four demerit points for the first offence and four demerit points for the second offence plus an additional four demerit points,” he says.
“This means that you will have accumulated 12 demerit points within a 12 month period and you risk having your licence suspended.”
How demerit points are recorded
Double points apply in NSW and ACT over the Australia Day weekend, Easter, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday, Labour Day and Christmas/New Year.
In WA, the double points apply on Australia Day (unless it falls on a week day), Labour Day, Easter, Anzac Day (unless it falls on a week day), Western Australia Day, Queen’s Birthday, and Christmas/New Year.
If a rider in another state commits a traffic offence in a state during a double-demerit period, the offence is recorded as a double demerit offence on their traffic history in the state where the offence happened.
The state licensing authority will then report the offence to the transport department in your state who will record the offence on your traffic history.
However, the double points will only apply in Queensland under the circumstances described above.
Choice of penalty
Stephen says that if you have committed a traffic offence recently and you receive a Queensland Transport notice that you have accumulated your allowed demerits, you will have a choice of a good driving behaviour period or a licence suspension for a period.
“When considering whether to agree to a good behaviour driving behaviour period and a licence suspension, it is important that a licence holder understands that accepting a suspension of their licence may preclude them from making an Application for a Special Hardship Order or an Application for a Restricted (Work) Licence for the next five years,” he warns.
If you are unsure about how many demerit points you have, you can search your record online at your state’s transport department website or call them and request a copy of your traffic history.