You should drive responsibly all the time, but there’s another reason to be on your best behaviour on the roads during the holiday period: the double demerit points some states will be doling out.

    Below, we’ve included a guide to the states and territories that issue double demerit points and when they’ll be issuing them over the December/January holiday period.

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

    How double demerit points work in Australia

    Victoria: There are no double demerit points in Victoria these holidays.

    New South Wales: New South Wales has double demerit points that apply for an 11-day period this Christmas. They go into force at 12am on December 22, 2023 and finish at midnight on January 2, 2024.

    Double demerit points in New South Wales apply for speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt and riding a motorbike without a helmet.

    Using a mobile phone while driving during double demerits in New South Wales, for example, will attract five demerit points.

    Western Australia: Western Australia has double demerit points that apply these holidays. They go into force at 12am on December 22, 2023 and finish at midnight on January 8, 2024.

    Double demerit points in Western Australia apply for 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 and driving in a manner to avoid detection by a speed camera.

    As an example, if you decide to use a radar detector or laser jammer during a double demerit period in Western Australia, you’ll cop demerit 14 points in one hit.

    Queensland: Queensland doesn’t have a holiday-specific double demerit point policy, and instead enforces double demerit points for certain offences all year round.

    Offences that will get you double demerits comprise speeding at more than 20km/h over the speed limit, mobile phone offences, driver seatbelt offences, motorcycle helmet offences, and failure to ensure passengers under 16 are properly restrained.

    They work a little differently to other states, though. In Queensland a driver can get a penalty on a public holiday (or any time during the year) and only pay the regular fine and attract the regular demerit points.

    But, if the driver commits the same type of offence within a 12-month period of the first, their second offence will attract double the demerit points.

    As an example, if you commit a mobile phone offence you will receive four demerit points for the first offence. Commit the same type of offence within a 12-month period and the second offence will attract eight demerit points meaning you will have accrued 12 demerit points in total within a 12-month period.

    Tasmania: Tasmania has no double demerit points during holiday periods or at any point during the year.

    Australian Capital Territory: The Australian Capital Territory has the same double demerit point offence rules as New South Wales for the duration of the holiday period.

    Northern Territory: Northern Territory has no double demerit points during holiday periods or at any point during the year.

    South Australia: South Australia has no double demerit points during holiday periods or at any point during the year.

    What happens if you travel interstate?

    One thing you need to keep in mind is that if you travel interstate, the fine amount and demerit point amount from your home state applies interstate.

    So, for example, if you’re travelling from New South Wales into Victoria during a double demerit point period and you receive a speeding fine in Victoria, you will cop double demerit points.

    Conversely, if you travel from Victoria into New South Wales during a double demerit period, you will receive a fine without double demerit points, because your home state doesn’t have a double demerit point rule.

    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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