The New South Wales Government is pulling forward a trial that will allow drivers with demerit points to have one removed sooner if they are well-behaved.

    The trial had originally been slated to start on July 1, but now the Minns Labor Government will allow drivers to have a demerit point removed if they have maintained a clean driving record since January 17, 2023 and continue to do so until January 17, 2024.

    The scheme was announced on January 17, and Transport for NSW is taking a ‘snapshot’ of the demerit point register as it stood on that date to identify all unrestricted and professional licence holders with active demerit points recorded against them.

    Previously, demerit points stayed on a driver’s record for three years.

    Learner and provisional licence holders aren’t included in the trial.

    The Government says it expects to take about three months to finalise offences, so eligible drivers will start seeing one demerit point removed from their driving records starting in mid-April 2024.

    “Reducing the road toll and rewarding safe driving across the state is the aim of this trial and we hope it gives drivers that little bit of extra incentive to achieve a spotless record,” said NSW Premier Chris Minns.

    “It’s time we put safety back at the centre of our road rules, not revenue raising.

    “Our message couldn’t be clearer: drive safely and you’ll get a point scrubbed from your licence. The more people who qualify for a point, the safer our roads.”

    Minister for Roads, John Graham, echoed the Premier’s remarks.

    “Drivers in NSW are very much used to the stick approach, so this demerit trial is an important carrot for them to maintain a clean record over a 12-month period to the benefit of all motorists, pedestrians, and communities,” said Mr Graham.

    “Under the previous government, there were almost a million demerit points on records, yet the road toll was rising. Now is the time to try the carrot approach and reward good behaviour.

    “We need everyone to work together to create a safer driving environment and ultimately push road trauma to zero.

    “The 12-month trial will be closely examined to assess its impact on road safety and the effectiveness of the demerit point changes.”

    New South Wales’ road death toll is sitting at 176 as of June 25, up from 148 at the same point last year.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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