This article aims to explain the workings of the demerit points system in South Australia, how to recover lost points, and whether it is possible to appeal the loss of points.
The Demerit Points System is a crucial part of road safety management in South Australia. It is designed to encourage safe driving by assigning demerit points to a driver’s license for specific traffic offences. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension or disqualification.
How the Demerit Points System Works
- Allocation of Points: Different traffic offences carry different demerit points. For example, speeding offences can range from 2 to 9 demerit points, depending on the speed over the limit. Using a mobile phone while driving carries 3 demerit points.
- Accumulation of Points: Demerit points accumulate on a driver’s record over a period of three years. If a driver accumulates 12 or more demerit points within a three-year period, they will receive a notice of disqualification from driving.
- Notice of Disqualification: The notice will inform the driver of the period of disqualification and will provide options for the driver to either accept the disqualification or elect a ‘good behaviour’ period.
- Good Behaviour Option: If a driver elects the ‘good behaviour’ option, they will be allowed to continue driving, but with only 2 demerit points available for the next 12 months. If the driver incurs 2 or more demerit points during this period, their license will be disqualified for twice the original disqualification period.
- Professional Drivers: Professional drivers, such as truck or taxi drivers, are subject to the same demerit points system. However, they have a higher threshold of 15 demerit points within any three-year period before they receive a notice of disqualification.
Recovering Demerit Points
Demerit points cannot be ‘recovered’ or removed from a driver’s record. However, demerit points expire three years from the date of the offence. Therefore, to ‘recover’ points, a driver must avoid incurring any further demerit points for a three-year period from the date of the offence. This means that over time, a driver can return to a zero demerit point balance by adhering to traffic laws and avoiding further offences.
Appealing the Loss of Demerit Points
There is no direct appeal process for the loss of demerit points. However, a driver can contest the traffic offence that led to the demerit points being incurred. If a driver believes they have been wrongly charged with a traffic offence, they can choose to contest the charge in court. If the court finds in the driver’s favour, the demerit points associated with that offence will not be applied to the driver’s record.
The demerit points system in South Australia is designed to encourage safe driving habits and deter reckless behaviour on the roads. Demerit points accumulate over a three-year period, and accumulating too many points can lead to license disqualification. While there is no direct appeal process for the loss of demerit points, a driver can contest the traffic offence that led to the demerit points being incurred. It is essential for all drivers to understand the demerit points system and the consequences of accumulating too many points.