Ask LH: Does My Driving Ban Apply In Multiple States?

Ask LH: Does My Driving Ban Apply In Multiple States?

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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Dear FM,

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!

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • I don’t know about other states, but in WA your suspension doesn’t start until you present to a licensing department and surrender your license.
    Good luck convincing an out of state cop that you have a valid license when you don’t have the piece of plastic.

    On top of that in some states it is an offence to drive without the card on your person. (although WA doesn’t have this rule)

    • This is not the case in Western Australia. Your suspension starts on the date of the order. If you happen to receive a suspension it is best to enquire with the correct departments to ensure you are eligible to drive. There may be instances where the Department of Transport ask you to return you licence, however, you will most likely already be suspended, or you have been served with a Demerit Point Suspension.

  • Lawyer here. The demerit points will/should be transferred to his NSW licence for the equivalent offence in NSW which is 5 points. He cannot have his licence otherwise interfered with because it isnt even discretionary in NSW for a police office to immediately suspend for the offence – that would only apply if he is an provisional or learner licence holder and the guy says he holds a “full” licence which I assume is open, and in any event would only apply if that discretion was exercised at the time of the offence. Final thing is that paying the fine has nothing to do with it – he’s already been convicted of the offence by the Court – vis a vis you are convicted of the offence when you pay the fine for a ticket.

    • You can still have your full driver’s licence suspended for three months for driving 35km/h over the speed limit in NSW. From the RMS website:

      Licence suspension and disqualification periods for speeding: Licence holders may be disqualified or have their licence suspended for the following serious speeding offences:
      Driving more than 30km/h but not more than 45km/h above the speed limit – suspension or disqualification for three months.

    • Hello, my vid license is getting suspended for not displaying my p plates the suspension commences on the 09/07/15 I was wondering if I go to nsw to transfer my license will the nsw license be valid ?

  • If you were driving 35km over the limit, I hope you lose your license in all states. In my opinion, people who do this type of thing should lose their license for a year and have their vehicle impounded as well as be fined on the spot, no matter what state you’re from and what state you’re in.

    People driving at such speeds are a major hazard to others and should be taken off the roads. When driving, or riding, I’m 5km below the limit, I’d rather be safe than sorry and I sure as hell don’t want some bloody idiot taking me out.

    • You don’t know the circumstances. I was pinged 62km/h over due to incorrectly signed roadworks (110 road, 40 zone).

      • How was it incorrectly signed?

        When I’ve gone through an area that has had road works going on, the signs were always in an easy to spot position, I’ve even seen signs well before the area they’re working on.

        • No signs at all… The beginning sign was fine but there was no ending sign, and the next regular speed sign would’ve been 40km away (Great Northern Highway)

    • My thoughts exactly. 35Km/h over the speed limit is stupidly fast. It’s not accidently going over the speed limit territory, is deliberately breaking the law at that stage. 6 months is very light for the offence. Should be at least 12 months, with the car impounded (at the drivers cost) during that time, and should apply to ALL states.

      • Fine sentiments indeed! But what about the situation where the speed limit changes from 100 to 60 and absolutely nothing else is different, and the driver somehow misses the 60 sign? (The 60 sign may have been obscured by a truck he was passing) Apart from transgressing an arbitrarily set speed limit, the driver has done nothing wrong or dangerous. Would you still take them out of the car and dispatch them with a bullet to the back of the head?

        • In Victoria, at least, when a speed changes down from 100, you get several signs giving you notice that there’s an impending speed limit change, then several signs, and often road markings, indicating the new speed limit. If you miss the many notifications you’re just not paying attention.

          • In Perth, on mitchel highway driving to the cbd there is an immediate change to 80. And no warning . so if you are new to the road you have to break the limit, even if you drive on 95 kmh, as there might be a car behind and you won’t hit all the breaks ! The same is on exits , from 100 even up to 60 . it is stupid as there is no warning about speed change and usually it becomes to 80 , but not 60. If I was a cop , I would hide behind the bushes and gun down every second motorist…

      • Why not hang him? 12 months is far too light a sentence for exceeding the speed limit. He should be water-boarded at the very least!

        • your no better talking like that to another human being,people make mistakes not everyone was raised with a Silver spoon in there mouth.with a name like repomonkey you obviously suck blood (repoing) whatever you can from people who need help.good help my grandad didnt exterminate more of your kind in the concentration camps in germany! wake up

    • Did it ever occur to you that the speed limit is ludicrously low? It was devised at a time when car wheels were the width of bicycles, when brakes were marginally less effect than those in Fred Flintstone’s and when safety features amounted to a seat belt. Muppets like you driving along at well below the speed limit are the real curse of the modern road user.

      • If you’re saying going 65 in a 70 zone is “well below the speed limit”, I’d hate to be near you on the road.

      • I agree mate. The Hume freeway is constructed for 180kph but we sit ona mind numbing 110. All these idiots are the reason we can’t up the ludicrously slow speed limits

    • “When driving, or riding, I’m 5km below the limit”.
      Oh, so you’re the idiot holding up traffic. While you shouldn’t speed, travelling below the limit for no good reason is a stupid thing to do too. 5km/h may not sound like much, but if you’re on a freeway doing 95 when everyone else is doing 100, you’re force everyone else to change lanes and overtake you, which increases traffic congestion and makes you a hazard.

    • you’ve never traveled outside of Australia have you?…. you would see that your attitude is the joke compared to other countries where they understand speed alone wont necessarily kill.

    • You obviously can’t drive and your dangerous by holding everyone up going 5km under the limit. Cars can handle speeds of 200km plus these days. We are not living in the 1920’s. All highways should be 130km an hour. So much safer

    • Yes unfortunately Australian drivers are quite incompetent. Some unable to actually drive sufficiently st the speed limit by 5kmh. How annoying.
      In Perth they don’t even allow anyone near the city or surrounding highways to do the national speed limit.
      I believe a large part of the problem is allowing everyone to drive automatic cars leading too poor driving skills and lack of engine control. Which also leads to old biddys like wacko Jacko accidentally hoofing the accelerator and plowing into people or off of raised areas etc.

  • for everyone bashing on doing 35 over the limit, in some places in the world the speed limit can be as high as 85m/h in the states or unlimited in Germany( at non peak times). Majority of science shows that there are less accidents when the speed limit is a little higher, this is put down to people driving to the conditions opposed to watching there speeds instead of the road.
    the 110 speed limit was set when cars didn’t have, abs, front air bags, curtain air bags, traction control…….. the safety of the cars has gone up ( not to mention cars can now get to 110 with out exploding )

    In areas where there are not other people, high ways late at night for example, the 110km/h speed limit is archaic, and not representative of what the cars and roads are capable of.

    I am far more worried about someone on there phone doing 100, than the person concentrating on driving and watching the road at 135.

    the lack of speed limit changes, is just another case of an uneducated(on car safety science) conservative majority.

    If u crash in a car with a lap belt, you are pretty screwed, u will still break your back and pelvis + what ever you limbs and head hits. but yet it legal to drive in a car with lap belts. but if i crash a 2014 mazda 6 at 115, instead of 110, yours going to be just as fine or dead.

    • Uhm, I still drive a car without airbag, abs or any of those gimmicks. My 25 yo fourby doesn’t have that. It does have a nice bullbar and big wheels, which means there’s a good chance you’ll slide under mine when you hit me with the 2014 Mazda. And there’s heaps others that drive older cars without any of the new safety features.
      I do agree that people are more dangerous playing with their gadgets in the hands though. As a motorbike rider, I have to swerve too often in order not to get hit because someone is paying more attention to whoever they’re talking to or texting.

      • Airbags and ABS aren’t “gimmicks”, they’re safety devices which have been proven to save lives.

  • In the USA it’s punishable by imprisonment, torture, and if you’re in Texas – the death penalty. You can always plea bargain for a stint in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere the Americans are attacking. Otherwise, I’d suggest a short stay in South America, and a change of name.

  • NSW sometimes has double demerit points for holiday periods.
    I suspect a Victorian would only lose the non doubled value?

    • The points in one state should be carried over when you transfer your licence.

  • Simply put, yes you are suspended.

    If a person is subject to a suspension in one state then they are subject to a suspension in all states, including the territories. In this case it would seem that NSW RTA does not know about the suspension, however that does not give you the right to drive.

    Driving under a court disqualification in WA would result in your vehicle being impounded, you would go to court, and receive a minimum of a 9 month disqualification on top of current suspension, and a nice big fine. I would not risk driving, and if you have concerns NSW Police should be able to clarify the matter. Best to ask the people that enforcing the law.

  • Fuck crushed – kick the guy in the balls, chop off his right hand, and make him watch his pet dog die.

    I mean FFS, a couple of seconds of full throttle motoring in the wrong place should mean tens of thousands of dollars in penalties to you people?

  • Similar thing happened to a mate of mine from Queensland.
    Busted for DUI of marijuana. North Sydney court magistrate gave him a 6 month disqualification + fine. Since he had a QLD license, they didn’t take it off him but instructed him to hand it in in QLD.
    When he attempted to hand it in, the QLD cops didn’t want it. So he was essentially banned from driving in NSW.

  • I was caught speeding in Victoria yesterday and my Victorian licence will be suspended for a month starting in 28 days. I have a job interview in Sydney a week after my suspension starts. My fine says I am disqualified from driving in Victoria and I have not been asked to hand in my licence. So my question is, can I still drive in NSW?

  • hey guys i just lost my license for 6 months because of demerits points and over 30/km I was wondering if I go to W.A or any other state to transfer my license will the license be valid ?

  • Dear lawyer… I wasn’t concerned about this until recently.. How to explain my situation??? I am being charged for going thru a give way sign which I admitted I was at fault for.. I wasn’t speeding.. Not drinking.. However the other parties were.. I took full blame as at the time I went thru the give way sign as it came by suprise.. And rather then concern of law.. I ran it as a risk deliberately fearing the concern of my two girls and new born baby boy’s life… So yes guilt is mine.. If I saw it sooner I would have stopped… Legal aid wrote for a submission for it to be dropped from dangerous driving to undue care which was rejected…my circumstance was that they had just notified me of a random rape n stabbing case of which I was the defendant coming to trial n requesting my attendance.. Perhaps playing part in my ‘ absent mindlessness’ although I do feel with the hour of the day… Unfamiliarity of the road.. And the fact that it has been deemed a dangerous intersection… Was more the cause.. And my quick last minute thinking… But I admit it had been a stressful day… And take full responsibility.. Anyhow with the above mentioned facts and the loss of my mum I have suffered a break down and returned to the remainder of what’s left of my family in nsw.. I will be disqualified in a month.. Doing as my legal aid representative advises me of pleading guilty… Despite the other part had been drink driving and speeding.. My question.. Only relevant til now as I have been given a job…is that once I am disqualified inQld will that apply in qld… X

  • Can you transfer demerit points between people to help out so they don’t lose their license

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