VicRoads’ licence and permit powers

 

Demerit points can be incurred for various offences. Licenses may be suspended for three months if 12 demerit points are lost in three years. Drivers on maximum demerit points will be served an Option Notice. VicRoads can vary, suspend and cancel licences. Hoon driving can incur licence suspension. Overseas or interstate licences are not exempt. The sheriff may suspend licence and car registration for non-payment of fines.

Demerit points system

VicRoads records demerit points against driver licences for various driving offences (between 1 and 10 points can be recorded for each offence). See the “Demerit points incurred for common offences” table, below.

Drivers who accrue a certain number of demerit points will have their licence or permit suspended (the number of points accrued before a suspension occurs depends on the type of licence or permit held). Demerit points are incurred on the date of the offence, not the date of the court hearing (if any).

Full licence holders may have their licence suspended for three months if they incur 12 or more demerit points in a three-year period (s 25(3)(a)).

If probationary licence holders accrue five or more demit points in any 12-month period (or 12 or more demerit points in any three-year period) they may have their licence suspended for three months and have their probationary licence period extended by six months.

All drivers incur an extra two-month suspension for each four points incurred over 12 points.

Demerit points incurred for common offences

Offence

Demerit points

Drivers subject to zero BAC (BAC .00–.05)

10

Drivers subject to .05 BAC (BAC .05–.07)

10

Drivers under the influence of drugs

10

Red-light offences

3

Careless driving

3

Use of mobile phone while driving

4

Failure to display P-plates

3

Failure to wear a seatbelt or helmet

3

Speeding offences

More than 45 km/h over the speed limit

8

35 to 45 km/h over the speed limit

6

25 to 35 km/h over the speed limit

4

10 to 25 km/h over the speed limit

3

Less than 10 km/h over the speed limit

1

Option notice

All drivers who incur the maximum allowed demerit points will be sent an option notice, which gives the driver two choices:

1 Accept the licence suspension, which will commence at a time specified in the notice.

or

2 Request VicRoads to not suspend the licence or permit for 12 months. If any points are incurred within this 12-month period, the suspension will be double the initial penalty (i.e. at least six months).

All licence holders

If a driver has their licence suspended under the demerit points system, and during the period of such suspension the licence is cancelled or suspended by a court, then the demerit points suspension is stayed during the court suspension or cancellation (s 25(4C)).

Where a licence has been suspended for speeding infringement(s) (seeSpeeding”), this suspension period is in addition to, and does not count as part of, a suspension period under the demerit points system (s 11(c)).

Powers to vary, suspend and cancel licences

VicRoads can vary, suspend and cancel driver licences and permits.

VicRoads can vary a driver licence or permit by excluding categories of vehicles that can be driven, or by varying the conditions by which the driver licence or permit is held (s 24 RSA).

VicRoads can now suspend driver licences when drivers have been ordered to complete safe driving courses for various “hoon driving” offences and have failed to do so (s 84BM). The licence remains suspended until the driver provides proof to VicRoads that they have completed the safe driving program (s 84BM).

VicRoads must suspend a driver licence or permit if it is satisfied that the driver is disqualified from driving in another state or territory (reg 79(1) Drivers Regulations).

Drivers cannot evade licence suspension and cancellation by driving in Victoria using an interstate or overseas licence. In fact, licence suspension or cancellation, whether by the Victorian courts or by VicRoads, means that the person cannot drive in Victoria for the period of the licence disqualification, even if an interstate or overseas licence is held.

VicRoads has the power to cancel or suspend the driver licences or permits of people who have not paid fines, court-ordered costs or restitution in connection with offences relating to driving a motor vehicle (or who have failed to come to some suitable arrangement with VicRoads) (reg 79). This provision applies to traffic fines, parking fines, and to fines for offences such as theft of a motor vehicle. VicRoads must give a driver at least 28 days’ notice that they plan to suspend their licence.

VicRoads may suspend, cancel or vary a driver licence or permit in certain other circumstances, such as when, due to illness or infirmity, it would be dangerous for the person to drive a motor vehicle (reg 78).

Powers to suspend car registrations

The sheriff has new powers to direct VicRoads to suspend the car registration (and the driver licence) of drivers who fail to pay infringement warrants issued for failure to pay infringement notices (ss 9AA, 24(1A) RSA). This suspension finishes if appropriate arrangements are made to pay the outstanding fine or to otherwise comply with other requirements regarding payment (ss 9AB, 24(1B)).