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NSW launches Demerit Point Reduction Trial

The trial, originally slated to begin on January 1, will now be brought forward, allowing eligible drivers to have a demerit point expunged from their license much sooner.

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In a significant move to encourage safer driving practices and reward responsible motorists, the New South Wales (NSW) Parliament has passed the Road Transport Amendment (Demerit Point Reduction Trial) Bill 2023, endorsing the Minns Labor Government’s trial. The trial, originally slated to begin on January 1, will now be brought forward, allowing eligible drivers to have a demerit point expunged from their license much sooner.

Under the initiative, more than 1.7 million drivers will be eligible to have a demerit point removed from their records if they have maintained a clean driving history since 17 January 2023 and continue to do so until 17 January 2024 of the following year. Ordinarily, it takes three years for a demerit point to be expunged from a driver’s record, but this trial seeks to incentivise good driving behavior by shortening the time frame.

NSW Premier Chris Minns expressed his support for the trial, emphasising its focus on promoting road safety through positive reinforcement rather than solely relying on punitive measures. He stated, “This is good news for safe driving. We want to encourage drivers to do the right thing, which is why we are adding this incentive into the license system rather than only relying on deterrents and demerits to get the road safety message through.”

The trial aims to reduce the number of demerit points on drivers’ records and, consequently, contribute to a reduction in the road toll across the state. Premier Minns emphasised that the primary goal is to prioritise safety on the roads and ensure that safe driving behaviours are rewarded appropriately.

Minister for Roads John Graham echoed the sentiment, highlighting the trial as an essential opportunity to motivate drivers to maintain offense-free driving for a 12-month period. He stated, “The demerit trial is an important carrot for drivers to remain offence-free over a 12-month period, and we will closely watch the results to see if there is a net safety benefit for motorists, pedestrians, and communities.”

While the trial presents an opportunity for many drivers to have their demerit points removed, it excludes learner and provisional license holders. These drivers are subject to strict conditions under the NSW Graduated Licensing Scheme, and the trial’s focus is on licensed drivers with a more extensive driving history.

With the trial expected to take approximately three months to finalize offenses, eligible drivers can anticipate seeing one demerit point removed from their records from mid-April 2024.

The success of the Demerit Point Reduction Trial will be closely monitored, and its outcomes will play a crucial role in shaping future road safety policies in the state.

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