Hey Lifehacker, I have a full NSW licence and just recently was caught speeding in Victoria. I was going 35 km over the limit and I lost my licence automatically for 6 months. The judge told me I was banned from driving in Victoria. Does this mean I cannot drive in NSW also? No one can tell me and on the RTA website my licence details have not changed. I have 2 months to pay the fine. Will the RTA let me know if my licence is suspended? Thanks, Fast Mover
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Australia’s road and traffic authorities are independently run by each state and territory. However, the systems are all interconnected via the Australian Road Rules agreement and the Demerit Points Scheme. The latter is a national program that allocates penalty points (demerits) for a range of driving offences. Any demerit points you incur while driving interstate still apply to your licence back home.
With that said, the actual road rules and associated penalties can vary slightly from state to state. As the Australian National Transport Commission explains on its website:
Road rules have no legislative force of their own. Although each state and territory has by and large copied the Rules into their own laws, not every provision of the Rules has been copied exactly in each state and territory. Also, there are a number of provisions in the Rules that specifically leave certain matters to state and territory governments to determine.
In most cases, the interstate licence authority will report the offence to the equivalent body in the driver’s home state, which will then record the number of points that would be applicable if the offence had occurred there. This means that a suspension in one state might not necessarily apply in the state where the licence was issued.
When it comes to your specific case, there’s a slight chance you might be in luck. VicRoads will suspend a driver’s licence for six months if they are caught driving between 35km/h and 45km/h above the speed limit. By contrast, the same offence will typically incur a three-month licence suspension in NSW. However, this is largely at the discretion of the police officer who issued the fine and usually involves an immediate roadside confiscation for serious speeding offences.
Your best bet is to pay the fine and see what happens. If you don’t receive a Notice of Suspension from the NSW Roads and Maritime Services in the post, your licence should still be valid in NSW. If you do receive a licence suspension, it should only be for three months; not six. Either way, you’re at least slightly better off than if you lived in Victoria.
On a final note, driving 35km/h over the speed limit is stupidly dangerous. If you manage to get a reprieve, don’t take it for granted and try to drive more responsibly!
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