2 January 2024

1.3 million NSW drivers eligible to have demerit point wiped

| Jarryd Rowley
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Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison (left) and Minister for Roads John Graham (middle) revealed that 1.3 million NSW drivers are able to have demerit points wipped from their licences in January. Photo: NSW Government

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison and Minister for Roads John Graham announce that 1.3 million NSW drivers can have demerit points wiped from their licences in January. Photo: NSW Government.

The NSW Government has announced that 1.3 million NSW drivers are eligible to have a demerit point removed from their licence within the next five weeks.

The NSW Government’s one-year demerit point trial, which kicks into effect on 17 January, allows drivers who have not committed a driving offence in 2023 to have a point scrubbed from their licence.

The new trial was brought in to encourage safer driving on NSW roads while providing a small relief to drivers by not making them wait three years and four months for points to be wiped.

Minister for Roads John Graham said the message of the point scrubbing scheme was crystal clear: drive safely and you’ll get a point wiped from your licence.

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“The demerit point trial is all about reducing the road toll, and this comes at such a critical time as we urge all drivers to be as safe as possible heading into the end of the year and the summer holiday season when lots of us drive long distances,” Mr Graham said.

“I am deeply concerned by the number of lives lost on NSW roads. The road toll is rising in other states so this is a shared problem across the nation, but we must do all we can here in NSW to make sure everyone gets home safely to their family.

“The NSW Government is investing almost $2.6 billion in road safety programs like seatbelt compliance via our mobile phone detection cameras, as well as improved infrastructure, education and funding police operations.”

In June, the government announced the trial would come into effect six months earlier than first flagged, allowing drivers who maintain a spotless record to shed a demerit point sooner.

At that time there were 1.7 million motorists eligible, with almost 400,000 having since committed an offence that carried at least one demerit point.

The trial has been embraced by the public and the demerit offer will remain in place in 2024.

The government is urging motorists to use the demerit return as an incentive to drive safely as the road toll has risen significantly in 2023 across Australia.

In NSW in the 12 months to 14 December, 337 people have died on the roads – an increase of 61 compared to the same 12-month period last year.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said drivers across NSW were used to the stick approach, so the demerit trial was an important carrot for them to maintain a clean record over the last five weeks of the trial period.

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“If all 1.3 million motorists drive safely and within the speed limit then we will see fewer deaths at a time when we must focus on turning the road toll around,” she said.

“Road deaths are particularly hard for regional communities where people may have life-long ties to their area.

“Sadly, the fatality rate per head of population for country residents of NSW is almost five times that of metropolitan residents.”

Ms Aitchison said simple acts such as wearing your seatbelt and putting your phone away could save lives.

“As you embark on holiday journeys and festive adventures, be the driving force behind safer roads. Prioritise rest by taking regular breaks, obey speed limits, and follow the advisory signs. If you’re planning to drink, have a plan B,” she said.

“Be especially cautious near curves and bends, where more than half of all rural road fatalities occur.”

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