What are demerit points?
Demerit points are part of New Zealand’s penalty point system, which aims to decrease dangerous driving and road incidents. Whenever a driver is caught driving recklessly or committing a driving offence, they receive demerit points. If you earn too many demerit points within a certain period, you licence will be suspended.
How many demerits can I have?
Your licence will be suspended for three months if you receive 100 or more active demerits within two years. If you don’t have a current licence, you’ll be banned from holding or obtaining a licence for three months.
It’s important to note that demerit points expire after two years. If you are disqualified from driving for six or more months, all demerit points will be wiped.
What are demerits issued for?
Demerit points are issued if you are caught committing a driving offence, such as speeding or driving while drunk. The amount of demerits you receive depends on how serious the offence was. For example, if you exceed the speed limit by less than 10km/h you will receive 10 demerit points. However, if you exceed the speed limit by more than 35km/h you will receive 50 demerit points.
You can get demerit points for things like:
- Driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol
- Not stopping for alcohol breath testing
- Using your phone while driving
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Breaking your licence conditions (e.g. not displaying L plate or driving with passengers)
- Driving without a Warrant of Fitness (WOF) or Registration (Rego)
- Breaking the road rules (e.g. not stopping at a stop sign)
Click here for a full list of demerit point related offences.
Demerits are often issued alongside a fine or impoundment of a vehicle.
How can I check my demerits?
If you get 50 or more demerit points, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) must send you a letter. However, there are other ways to check your demerit points.
You can call NZTA on 0800 822 422, Monday to Friday, between 8am and 5.30pm. If you’re overseas, you can call +64 6 953 6200. You’ll need:
- Driver licence number
- Licence holder’s full name
- Licence holder’s date of birth
- Email address
- Mobile number
If you want a copy of your demerit points and suspension history you’ll need to pay a fee of $11.10.
View your demerits online
If you have a verified RealMe account you will be able to view your current demerit point total online.
You can login to your RealMe account here.
If you don’t have a verified RealMe account, you can apply for one.
How do I get my licence back?
At the end of three-months you will be able to apply to have your licence reinstated and receive a new licence. Note, you are not entitled to drive until you have applied for your licence at a driver licensing agent. Your licence from the time of your disqualification will have been permanently cancelled and cannot be driven on.
If you drive after your suspension has ended, but before your licence has been reinstated, you could be fined or forbidden to drive. If you continue to drive without a licence after this incident, you could be charged and have your vehicle impounded.
If you were disqualified from driving for more than a (continuous) year you will need to pass both a theory and practical tests to requalify for your licence.
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This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.