Demerit Points are set to ensure everyone plays fair and follows the rules of the New Zealand Road Code. But how many points are allocated for which offence, and what exactly are the penalties?
What Are Demerit Points?
In order to ensure everyone drives safely and follows the law, Demerit points have been put in place. In particular, Demerit points will be dished out to you if you create a traffic offence or if you are caught speeding.
If you get a total of 100 or more demerit points within a two year period, you will be suspended from driving for 3 months.
If you are sent to court for your poor driving behaviour the court have the right to suspend or disqualify your licence for any period of time the Court deems appropriate, such as 6 months or more.
Allocation of Points
Some of the offences that incur demerit points are as follows:
- Exceeding speed limit by 10 km/h – 10 Points
- Exceeding speed limit by 11-20 km/h – 20 Points
- Driving at a speed that means you are unable to stop in half of the clear distance ahead – 20 Points
- Driving in a lane at a speed that means you are unable to stop in length of lane that you can see – 20 Points
- Driving at a speed that means you are unable to stop short of the vehicle ahead – 20 Points
- Failing to observe Give Way signs – 20 Points
- Proceeding before the way is clear at a Stop sign – 20 Points
- Failing to keep as close as practicable to left edge of roadway – 20 Points
- Failing to stop and remain stopped for a school patrol sign – 20 Points
- Failing to observe the requirements at a school patrol crossing – 20 Points
- Breaching a condition of learner licence – 25 Points
- Breaching a conditions of restricted licence – 25 Points
- Exceeding speed limit by 21-30 km/h - 35 Points
- Passing or attempting to pass where no-passing lines are marked on the road – 35 Points
- Failing to remain stopped for an enforcement officer – 35 Points
- Failing to stop when followed by red and blue flashing lights – 35 Points
- Carelessly or inconsiderately using a motor vehicle – 35 Points
- Driving or attempting to drive when prohibited by an enforcement officer – 35 Points
- Exceeding speed limit by 31-35 km/h – 40 Points
- Exceeding speed limit by 36 km/h or more – 50 Points
- Failing or refusing to wait for result of a breath screening test – 50 Points
- Failing or refusing to accompany a police officer when required – 50 Points
- Failing or refusing to remain for evidential breath test or blood test – 50 Points
- Person under 20 driving or attempting to drive with excess breath or blood alcohol - 50 Points
The Power of the Court
If you are sent to court for your careless driving behaviour whereby you hurt or killed someone or if you have taken alcohol and drugs while driving, the court have the right to penalise you however they deem appropriate. This includes a fine of up to $20,000; disqualification of your drivers licence, or you could be sent to jail for up to 5 years.
Your Drivers Licence
If a Police Officer stops you for exceeding a speed of more than 40 km/h in a permanent speed zone, or more than 50 km/h in a temporary speed zone, they can not only apply Demerit Points to your record, but they may also suspend your Drivers Licence for up to 28 days on the spot. This also applies if you have been caught drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
If you continue to drive while disqualified, or if your licence has been suspended and you continue to drive, a police officer has the right to impound your vehicle on the spot for up to 28 days. You may also have to face court penalties for this offence.
Something else to bear in mind – as a driver or passenger, you could be arrested by a Police Officer if you do not give your name or address to the Officer when requested, don’t pull over when asked to stop, don’t give your keys to the officer when requested, refuse to give a blood or breath test or if you assault an Officer.
For more information please visit the New Zealand Transport Agency, and be sure to check outYellow Maps to get some helpful driving directions around New Zealand – you’ll also find some great articles about places to visit in our beautiful country!Understanding the NZ Demerit Points System,