With the Easter weekend upon us, drivers in NSW, WA and the ACT are facing a double-demerit penalty if caught breaching certain road rules.
While other states, including Victoria, have never implemented a double-demerits penalty over holiday periods, Queensland argues it has a scheme in place all year round.
“Unlike other states and territories, in Queensland double demerit points do not only apply during holiday periods,” the Queensland Government website reads.
If motorists are caught committing some offences twice within 12 months, they will incur twice the amount of demerit points, regardless of what time of year.
For example, if a driver receives four demerit points for speeding at 25km/h over the limit, they will receive an additional eight demerit points if caught for the same offence within a year – a grand total of 12 points for the two offences.
The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) moved to quash suggestions the state only implements the scheme on certain days of the year.
RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said motorists shouldn’t need an increased punishment at certain times of the year to act as a deterrent when it comes to breaking road laws.
“Drivers should look past the financial and demerit penalties for breaking the law. The worst thing that could happen isn’t getting a fine or losing your licence – you or someone else could be seriously injured or killed,” he said.
Mr Spalding said Queensland opted for a year-long double demerit points system for a range of high-risk offences.
The offences cover speeding more than 20km/h over the speed limit, mobile phone breaches, seatbelt offences and motorcycle helmet offences.
The Queensland Government notes that the repeated offence merely has to be within the same offence group to receive double demerits.
NSW push for safer roads
More than 120 people have died since the start of 2019 in NSW - up by about a dozen compared to this time last year.
Double demerits on certain holidays - a strategy introduced more than 20 years ago - apply over Easter. They came into force on Thursday and will apply until midnight on Monday.
They'll come into effect again for the Anzac Day public holiday period, from April 24 to 28.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said the double demerits measure, along with random breath and drug testing, has helped to significantly reduce road deaths and serious accidents.
"Double demerits is really important for us to send a clear message to the community that over these busy periods we really need them to take care," Mr Corboy told Seven's Sunrise program on Thursday.
He urged drivers to plan their breaks while travelling over the holiday period to avoid fatigue.
He also called on people to wear their seatbelts and stressed that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol was not acceptable.
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