Queensland drivers are subject to demerit point and monetary fines for traffic infringements if caught by police.
What are demerit points?
Demerit points are a penalty system managed by State and Territory licensing authorities which are applied in addition to traffic fines to deter unlawful driving behaviours. Many jurisdictions acknowledge that just having fines for traffic offences does not provide enough deterrence to poor driving behaviour, and so demerit points that can result in loss of licence are also used.
When someone commits a traffic offence and is caught they will be given the corresponding fine and demerit points. Not all offences come with demerit points, but when they do the number of demerit points generally correspond to the seriousness of the offence. A full schedule of traffic offences that incur a fine and demerit points in Queensland can be found here.
These demerit points are recorded on a person’s traffic history, which is a record of all traffic, registration, dangerous driving and drug or drink driving offences they have committed. A traffic history is permanent and if you have to go to court it may be referred to.
How Many Demerit Points Do I Get?
Everyone who obtains a driver licence does not have any demerit points, which is a good place to start.
The number of demerit points you can accumulate before you will be sent a notice to choose between a suspension or a good driving behaviour period will depend on whether you are in possession of a learner, provisional or open licence.
Licence authorities issue cumulative demerit points on conviction for road traffic offences.
The more demerit points a driver has, the closer they are to being suspended from driving once a certain number of demerit points is reached.
The table below illustrates the maximum number of demerit points a licence holder can accumulate before they risk losing their licence.
|Licence Type||Maximum Demerit Points||Penalty|
|Learner licence||4 in 12 months||Licence suspension for 3 months|
|Provisional licence||4 in 12 months||Licence suspension for 3 months OR Good behaviour period for 1 year|
|Open licence||12 in 3 years||Licence suspension for requisite period* OR Good behaviour period for 1 year|
*Requisite period of suspension is calculated below:
- If you accumulate at least 12 demerit points, but no more than 15 – 3 months
- If you accumulate at least 16 demerit points, but no more than 19 – 4 months
- If you accumulate more than 20 demerit points – 5 months
Good driving behaviour
If you end up on a good driving behaviour period you can continue to drive, but if you record two or more demerit points during that period your licence will be suspended. The suspension will generally be for twice as long as the suspension you would have had if you had not opted for good driving behaviour period.
How do I check my demerit points?
You are able to check how many demerit points you have using the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ demerit point calculator.
This is a free tool which allows you to check if you have accumulated demerit points on your traffic history, as well as the current status of your Queensland driver licence and the class and type of licence you hold.
When are my points ‘Reset’?
Demerit points can never be completely removed from a person’s traffic history. The best way to look at it is to view your traffic history as a time line. If you are on an open licence and commit an offence, those demerit points will be counted for three years onwards. However, if you don’t commit any more offences within that three year bracket your points basically ‘reset’ to zero for the timeframe moving forward.
|Offence 1||Offence 1||Offence 1|
|Offence 2||Offence 2||Offence 2|
|Offence 3||Offence 3||Offence 3|
Do double demerit points affect me?
In Queensland, double demerit points only apply to licence holders who repeatedly commit specific offences which increase the road safety risk to themselves or other road users. For these repeat offenders, double demerits apply all year as a way of discouraging dangerous driving behaviours.
RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said there was a lot of confusion surrounding demerit points, especially when it comes to public holidays.
“Double demerits don’t apply for long weekends in Queensland, as they do in some other States,” she said.
“To be hit with double demerit points in the Sunshine State, you need to be a repeat offender – if you’re caught speeding more than 20 km/h over the limit, driving without a seat belt, riding without a helmet or using a mobile phone behind the wheel twice in one year, that’s when you’ll cop the higher penalty.”
If you would like to find out more about demerit points in Queensland, let us know in the comments section or call the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80.