Everyone is guilty of having broken the speed limit. Maybe you did 61km/h in a 60 zone, or sped up to 120km/h on the freeway to get past other traffic.
- Some states will take your licence away immediately if you’re caught speeding
- Speeding laws vary by state and territory
- The easiest way to avoid instant loss of licence? Don’t speed!
We’ve done a story on the highest speed limits of each state and territory in Australia already, but what happens if you do the wrong thing? Like, really, badly do the wrong thing?
There are some jurisdictions in Australia that will take your licence away immediately if you are caught speeding to a degree that is determined by that area’s legislation. In this story, we’ll have a look at which states do it, and what the thresholds are.
In NSW and Sydney, if you commit a traffic offence, police can suspend your licence immediately or you can be disqualified from driving by a court, according to the NSW government’s transport authority.
Instant licence suspension by police could come as a result of any of the following:
- A serious accident causing death or grievous bodily harm
- Speed in excess of 45km/h over the speed limit (full licence holders)
- Speed in excess of 30km/h over the speed limit (learner or provisional licence holders)
- Drive with a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) or under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drugs
- Take part in street racing and other hoon offences
- Drive without supervision (learner licence holders)
It might not be just your licence you lose, either, with offenders caught doing more than 45km/h over the limit at risk of having their vehicle impounded or repossessed, or having the vehicle’s number plates confiscated.
The rules are similar in Melbourne and Victoria, which introduced instant licence suspension in 2020. Instant licence suspension takes effect immediately and lasts until “the charge is determined by a court, or a suspension or cancellation associated with a Traffic Infringement Notice (TIN) commences, or the charge is withdrawn by a court, or the suspension is revoked on appeal.
According to VicRoads, immediate licence suspension will apply to:
- A person caught driving 45 km/h or more over the speed limit or 145 km/h or more in a 110 km/h zone (these motorists are also subject to vehicle impoundment)
- A person who has been charged with murder, attempted murder, gross violence offences or causing serious injury offences if they used a motor vehicle in the commission of the offence and it resulted in death or injury
It isn’t an immediate loss of licence for Brisbanites and QLDers, which requires those caught speeding at extreme levels to go through a process of box ticking.
According to Your keys to driving in Queensland—No 19 November 2022:
“If you are found driving at a speed more than 40km/h over the speed limit, you will generally be given an infringement notice for the offence. As soon as you pay the fine, have it dealt with by a court, or if it is referred to the State Penalty Enforcement Registry for non-payment you will be sent a Notice of Driver Licence Suspension for Speeding Offence, stating that your licence will be suspended for six months from a stated date. In addition, eight demerit points will be recorded against your traffic history for this offence.”
According to the South Australian government, drivers who are caught speeding in an excessive manner will face consequences.
“If you are caught travelling at 45 km/h or more above the speed limit, you will incur the following penalties: automatic loss of licence for six months; nine demerit points; expiation fee.”
That’s not including any potential fines for the offence.
In WA there is no instant licence cancellation or disqualification for speeding offences.
The state does come down hard on drink/drug driving, though, with WA’s department of transport stating: “Police have the authority to immediately disqualify an individual from driving where there is physical evidence indicating that the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit.”
In Tassie there is a for licence disqualification, among other driving offences.
“If you are disqualified from driving, your licence will be suspended or cancelled for a certain period of time. This means that you won’t be able to drive for the period of disqualification (and may have to become a non-novice learner driver).
The driving offences that you can be disqualified for include:
- Court order under the Vehicle and Traffic Act 1999, Road Safety (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1970, Police Offences Act 1935, the Sentencing Act 1997 and the Traffic Act 1925
- Recording a BAC between 0.05 and 0.1 for a first offence
- An unaccompanied learner infringement
- Excessive speeding of 38km/h or more
In Australian Capital Territory, there is no provision for an immediate licence suspension or disqualification for speeding. However, if you are charged and end up in court, your licence may be suspended.
The Northern Territory doesn’t have any rule around instant or immediate licence suspension for speeding offences, but if you end up in court there is a chance your licence will be suspended.
Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.