While the police won’t give you a five-star rating for good driving, they can take away stars due to bad behaviour. If you commit serious traffic offenses, you may even have to sit in some corner without a car to drive for some time.
Australian states have different traffic offense rules. Some states have milder fines, while others have more serious fines for different traffic offenses. You can visit Astor Legal to get lawyers who can help you with your traffic offense cases.
One way of ensuring that drivers don’t commit such offenses is to award them demerit points for every offense committed. If you don’t want to be jailed or fined, you’ll need to keep your demerit points at an all-time low.
This article tells you what demerit points are, how they work, and how to avoid serious fines.
What’s A Demerit Point System
It’s a scheme set by the Australian government that awards drivers who’ve committed traffic offenses certain points. When you accrue a specific amount of these points, penalties such as the suspensions of your license may be imposed on you.
The demerit points that you accumulate work interstate. That means if you break the rules while driving in another state, you’ll still have demerit points against your record.
The maximum number of demerit points you can gain depends on the state you live in. In Victoria, the highest you’ll get is eleven, while Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia may award you up to 12 points. NSW has the maximum demerit points. You risk suspension if you’re a new driver with the P- or L- plate because you’ll only need four points to be penalized.
How The Demerit Point System Works
Every driver that hasn’t committed an offense has zero points. There’s a misconception about the demerit point system that has been going around for quite sometime. This myth states that you start with a specific number of points which reduces to zero when you commit several offenses.
But the truth is that everyone starts with a balance of zero and then gains points as they commit the offenses till they reach the predetermined number. Several traffic violations may make you earn demerit points. Some main ones include speeding, not wearing a helmet if you’re riding a bike, drink-driving, not wearing a seatbelt, receiving a call while driving, and violating safety driving rules.
The number of demerit points that you earn will depend on how great the offense is. For example, a driver who exceeds a 45km/h speed limit in Victoria may earn up to 8 demerit points.
How To Avoid Serious Fines
The Australian government takes traffic offenses seriously. If you’re caught violating any traffic rules, you may face serious consequences, including being fined or having your driving license suspended. Every state in Australia will fine you for a speeding offense that’s captured by traffic monitoring devices or witnessed by public authorities. But the seriousness of these offenses varies from state to state. That’s because fining violations is delegated to state governments and not the central government.
The fine amount will depend on your vehicle type and the speed you were driving at. To avoid accumulating demerit points and being fined, there are some things you need to know.
Here are some of them:
1. Observe Speed Limits
The simplest way to avoid demerit points and fines is to drive within legal speed limits. Speed restrictions usually depend on the type of road you’re driving on. They may also depend on the state you are in. Fortunately, most roads have periodic signages that indicate the speed limit. As a rule of thumb, you should always drive below the indicated speed limit.
In cases where there’s no visible signage, drive within the default speed limits. That includes 50km/h in urban areas, 40km/h in areas with a high number of pedestrians, 10km/h in shared zones, and 100km/h in highways.
2. Hire Reputable Lawyers
Sometimes you may make reasonable and honest mistakes that may violate traffic laws. If this happens to you, reputable traffic lawyers can help you contest the charges In court. If they defend you well, they may help to lower the offenses category, penalty and fine, and its associated demerit point.
The Bottom Line
The Australian demerit point system may be a good scheme that keeps drivers in check. However, it may sometimes be harsh on you if you don’t know how it works. This information can help you abide by its rules and avoid serious fines.