The Easter holiday period is a bad time for road fatalities - so police will be cracking down on motorists in select states and territories. We explain where double demerits apply and the various traffic offences they apply to.
The demerit point system was implemented in a bid to encourage drivers to obey road rules during busy traffic periods. It occurs on select public holidays and holiday periods, with Christmas being the most notable.
As the name of the scheme implies, demerit points are doubled during this period for the offences of speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt and riding without a motorcycle helmet. Other traffic offences can also incur additional penalties during this period.
By law, double demerits must be advertised to motorists prior to occurring. Here's the 2017 Easter awareness campaign for NSW which has a curious horror movie vibe:
Currently, the double demerit system is practised in Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Here's what each state is doing over the Easter period, according to official police statements:
Get caught speeding, illlegally using your mobile phone, not using a seatbelt or helmet this holiday period, and you’ll face double the consequences. Double demerits are in force Thursday 13 April to Monday 17 April inclusive. (Midnight Wednesday 12 April to midnight Monday 17 April.)
Double demerit points apply for speeding, seatbelt, motorcycle helmet and mobile phone offences. Certain driving and parking offences attract an additional demerit point if committed in an operating school zone. Double demerit points can also apply when school zones are in operation during holiday periods. If you commit a speed, seatbelt or helmet offence during this combined period, the demerit point value applying for the school zone will be doubled.
Double demerit points for the Easter period will apply from Thursday, 17 April, to Monday, 21 April. Six demerit points can be applied to the licence of any driver who does not wear a seatbelt or who permits passengers under 16 years of age to travel in a vehicle unrestrained.
If drivers exceed the speed limit this Easter period by more than 15km/h and up to 30km/h, 6 demerit points will be applied, while exceeding the speed limit by 45 km/h or more will result in 12 demerit points being applied and the risk of licence suspension.
In addition, drivers who commit other offences, such as running red lights or failing to stop at stop signs, will receive one extra demerit point on top of the usual number applied.
In Queensland, double demerit points are applied to persons who repeatedly commit specific offences that increase the road safety risk to the person themselves or other road users. Double demerit points apply all year round for these repeat offenders as a way of discouraging dangerous driving behaviours on a continuing basis.
Double demerit points are allocated for certain second or subsequent driver seatbelt offences, motorbike helmet offences and offences for speeding more than 20km/h over the speed limit, that are committed within 1 year of a previous offence. Double demerit points also apply for second or subsequent mobile phone offences that are committed by drivers within 1 year of an earlier offence.
A person does not necessarily have to commit the same type of offence a second or subsequent time to be allocated double demerit points. A second or subsequent offence only needs to be within the same offence group for the person to accumulate double demerit points.
Double demerit points apply from midnight Wednesday until midnight on Monday. (Thursday 13 April to Monday 17 April 2017 inclusive.)
The following offences are subject to Double Demerits: Drink or drug driving, speeding, failing to wear a seat belt and child restraint, running a red light and illegal use of a mobile phone while driving.
So there you have it. WA, Queensland, ACT and NSW drivers need to keep their guard up this weekend. Drive safe, guys!