The arrival of the Australia Day public holiday and long weekend brings with it a four-day period of double demerits in three jurisdictions across the country.

    Double demerits came into effect at midnight (12am) on Thursday, January 25 in New South Wales, Western Australian and the Australian Capital Territory, and will remain in place until 11:59pm on Sunday, January 28.

    While only three states and territories enforce double demerits, penalties for motorists caught breaking road rules during the period apply to whichever jurisdiction they are licensed in.

    For example, if you are travelling through New South Wales on a Victorian licence and are fined, the demerit point penalty will be based on Victoria’s road laws.

    On the other hand, if you are driving in Victoria (which does not enforce double demerits) on a New South Wales licence and receive a fine, double demerits apply.

    State (or territory)Double demerit points?
    VictoriaNO
    New South WalesYES
    Western AustraliaYES
    QueenslandYES*
    TasmaniaNO
    Australian Capital TerritoryYES
    Northern TerritoryNO
    South AustraliaNO

    What offences do double demerits apply to? 

    New South Wales: In Australia’s most populous state, double demerits are issued if motorists are caught speeding, illegally using their mobile phones, not wearing seatbelts in a car, or riding a motorcycle without a helmet.

    Western Australia: Motorists who are charged with speeding, drink or drug driving, failing to wear a seatbelt or child restraint, illegal use of a mobile phone while driving, driving a vehicle with a radar detector or driving in a manner to avoid detection by a speed camera face double demerit penalties.

    Australian Capital Territory: As with NSW, motorists from the nation’s capital are hit with double demerit points penalties for being caught speeding, illegally using their mobile phones, not wearing seatbelts in a car or riding a motorcycle without a helmet.

    Queensland: While there are no holiday-specific double demerit periods in Queensland, the Sunshine State applies stronger penalties to certain driving offences every day of the year.

    These include driving at more than 20km/h above the speed limit, any mobile phone-related offences, driver seatbelt offences, motorcycle helmet offences, and failure to ensure passengers under 16 are properly restrained.

    The double demerits are only applied to motorists who commit the same type of offence within 12 months of their first offence, with the second offence attracting twice as many points.

    Elsewhere: Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have no double demerit points during holiday periods or at any point during the year.

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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