If you’re a learner driver, you’ll be aware that there are a number of restrictions that apply to your learner licence, which help to keep you and others safe on the road.
Now, we all know that the majority of drivers (including learners) are able to drive safely and in accordance with the law – but the stats show that drivers under the age of twenty continue to be over-represented in road crashes, which is bad news for learners.
To further encourage safe driving, important changes to the learner licence have been introduced, and from 28 September 2009 learner licence holders were included in the demerit points scheme. This move is to further encourage safe driving by young people and help reduce the trauma caused by road crashes to individuals, their families and friends.
So, if you’re a learner driver it’s important that you understand how the demerit points scheme works and the restrictions that apply to your L plate status – after all, you’ll want to make sure you keep hold of your licence and become a safe and responsible driver.
How do the changes affect learner drivers?
From 28 September 2009:
- If a learner licence holder incurs 4 or more demerit points within a three-year period, the licence will be suspended, or a licence application or renewal refused, for a period of three months.
- A minimum of 4 demerit points will be imposed on a learner driver for committing a speeding offence.
- This means a learner licence will be suspended or refused for three months for any speeding offence.
Learner drivers can also lose their licence for higher levels of speeding:
- An additional three-month suspension will apply for exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 km/h.
- A six-month suspension applies for speeding more than 45km/h.
- Police can also suspend and confiscate learner licences at the roadside for speeding more than 30 km/h over the limit or if caught driving without a supervisor.
A learner driver does have the right to appeal a decision to suspend or refuse a licence under the demerit points or excessive speed schemes.
Heavy penalties, including a jail sentence and disqualification from driving, may be imposed by a court if a learner driver is convicted of driving while their licence is suspended or refused.
For more information, including a full list of the offences which attract demerit points, visit the demerit points page on Roads and Maritime Services (replacing Roads and Traffic Authority) website or phone 13 22 13.
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