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PLEASE NOTE: This article was published on the date listed below and may now contain information that has since been updated or changed. We have retained this article as it may still contain helpful comments. However, we advise you to make an appointment to see us for the most up to date information on this topic.

SEPTEMBER 2004

The Demerit Points System - an update

Recent news media reports have quoted Police Commissioner Rob Robinson saying “Speed camera fines will be abolished in favour of demerit points if charges of Police revenue-gathering continue to get in the way of enforcement”.

These media reports again have brought to the fore New Zealand’s system of demerit points for traffic offences. Our experience with clients is that not all licensed drivers are aware of the scale of demerit points or the consequences of accumulating such points.

Examples of Offences for which Demerit Points Accumulate:

_General Description of Offence
Number of Demerit Points
Speeding: 0 – 10 km/hr above limit
10
Failing to keep left
20
Speeding: 10 – 20 km/hr above limit
20
Driving contrary to conditions of licence
25
Speeding: 20 – 30 km/hr above limit
35
Careless driving
35
Failure to stop or remain stopped for a Police Officer
35
Passing or attempting to pass where insufficient clear road is visible
35
Passing or attempting to pass where no passing line is marked
35
Speeding: 30 – 35 km/hr above limit
40
Failure or refusal to wait for the result of a breath screening test or evidential breath test
50
Failure to accompany a Police Officer when so required
50
Failure to remain for an evidential breath test or blood test
50
Speeding: exceeding 35 km/hr above limit
50

Suspension of Licences under the Demerit Point System

If at any two-year period, a total of 100 or more demerit points are recorded against you, the Director of Transport must suspend your current driver licence for three months.

  • Although the demerit points recorded have effect on and from the date of the conviction of the offence, the suspension however does not in fact start until the day that notice is given to you.
  • The Director is required to give you notice when 50 or more demerit points have been recorded against you, however a suspension will not be invalid because you have not received this “warning notice”.
  • Service is effected if sent by ordinary post addressed to your last known place of residence, business or postal address and delivered in the ordinary course of post.
  • Notice given by the Director is a mandatory requirement provided that it can be practicably given. In reality notice is often received many months after the commission of the offence.
  • Your licence must be surrendered to the Director upon receipt of the Notice of Revocation. Failure to surrender constitutes an offence.
  • A limited licence may be issued upon application in certain circumstances.
  • Notice of Suspension of Drivers Licence can be revoked on review or appeal and the relevant demerit points cancelled.

Conclusions

There are legal avenues available to challenge and defend the suspension of your driver’s licence under the Demerit Points System. However, strict time limits apply. It is essential that you contact us at the earliest opportunity if our assistance is to be effective.