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Double Demerits – Christmas, New Year 2013/14

Double demerits will apply again over the Christmas, New Year period.

Double demerits will commence at midnight on Thursday 19 December 2013 and will be in place until midnight on Thursday 2 January 2014.

Double demerits apply for speeding, seatbelt and motor cycle helmet offences.

Under the demerit point scheme, demerit points are accumulated against your driving licence for a series of specified driving offences.  If you accumulate points in excess of a threshold within a three year period, your licence will be suspended or refused.

The thresholds are as follows:
Unrestricted Licence – 13 points
Unrestricted Licence, Professional Driver – 14 points
Unrestricted Licence, Good Behavior Period – 2 points (within the good behavior period)
P2 Licence (green P plate) – 7 points
P1 Licence (red P plate) – 4 points
Learner Licence – 4 points.

Examples of the demerit points that can be accumulated during a double demerit period are set out below:
Exceed speed limit by more than 20 km/h but not more than 30 km/h – 8 points
Exceed speed limit by more than 10 km/h but not more than 20 km/h – 6 points
Exceed speed limit by not more than 10 km/h – 2 points
Drive vehicle not wearing a seat belt and with two or more unrestrained passengers – 18 points
Drive vehicle not wearing seat belt and with one unrestrained passenger – 12 points
Drive vehicle not wearing a seat belt (no unrestrained passengers) – 6 points
Ride motorbike without approved motor bike helmet and with one unhelmeted passenger – 12 points
Ride motorbike without approved motor bike helmet (rider alone) – 6 points

The application of double demerits can be severe and can easily result in you exceeding your threshold, particularly if you are on a provisional or learner licence.  If you are on an unrestricted licence with good behaviour period, any double demerits for speeding, seatbelt or helmet offences during the good behaviour period can result in the loss of you licence.

The message is to slow down and drive safely over the Christmas, New Year period.

Tolls. How much are you paying?

Have you worked out how much you are paying in tolls on a daily, monthly or annual basis?

If you drive to work in Sydney it is highly likely you will be hit with a toll somewhere in your trip.  Some drivers can pay up to 5 or 6 tolls in a return trip to work each day.  The impost would be even higher for professional drivers such as couriers, taxi drivers and truck drivers.

As an example, a drive from Campbelltown or Liverpool to the city and return in a passenger car can cost as much as $24.47 per day.  That is $489.40 per month or $5,872.80 per year.

If you drive from Liverpool to the city, there is the M5 ($4.40), Eastern Distributor ($6.17) and the Cross City Tunnel ($4.95).  On the way home, there is the Cross City Tunnel and the M5 again.  Luckily, the Eastern Distributor only charges for north bound journeys.

The trap is that you pay each toll by way of draw down of funds from your account.  It is easy to overlook the total cost.

How much do you pay in tolls?

Double Demerits October 2013

Do not forget that double demerits apply this weekend.

Double demerits apply from midnight on Thursday 3 October 2013 until midnight on Monday 7 October 2013.

Double demerits apply to speeding, seatbelt and motorcycle helmet offences.

Double demerits can quickly add up to the allowed maximum of 13 points for most fully licenced drivers.

For example, a driver not wearing a seatbelt will accumulate 6 points this weekend.  If the driver also has one passenger not wearing a seatbelt 12 points will be accumulated and if there are two passengers in addition to the driver not wearing a seatbelt, 18 points will be accumulated, resulting in the loss of the driver’s licence.

Exceeding the speed limit by 10 to 20 km/h will result in 6 demerit points for a driver on a full licence.

Drive carefully and enjoy the weekend.

M5 Tolls Double Charging

What is happening with the M5 toll gates at Holdsworthy?  The M5 is going cashless from 1 July 2013 and a new toll collection gantry has been installed.  For some weeks now, my tag is beeping at both the old toll collection point and at the new toll collection point just up the road.  It seems like double charging.

The website of Interlink Roads Pty Ltd, the operator of the M5, says that the new toll collection gantry is being tested and that you will not be charged twice, despite the tag beeping twice.  How simple would it be for Interlink Roads to install some temporary signage letting people know that they should ignore the second beep on their tag.  There is no signage, no explanation.  Some simple signage could have saved a lot of concern for motorists.

RMS E-Toll Customers – Free Additional Tags

From 1 June 2013 the RMS is applying a matching fee for drivers using the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Tunnel without their tag in the vehicle. It equates to free additional tags.

The matching fee will be $0.55 and is applied as a charge for matching a photo of the vehicle number plate to the RMS E-Toll account.

The RMS is encouraging customers to get additional tags and is offering two additional tags free of charge until the end of May 2013.  Additional tags normally cost $40.00 each.

All other NSW toll operators already charge a matching fee.

If you have not already done so, be sure to contact the RMS before 1 June 2013.


Changes to Learner Hours and Speeds, Plus New Restricted Provisional Licences

The NSW Government announced yesterday more changes to the logbook driving hours requirement for learner licences.

Learners who participate in a new Safer Driving Course will be able to reduce their compulsory supervised driving hours from 120 hours to 100 hours.

The reduction of 20 hours is in addition to the 20 hour reduction already available for having 10 hours of professional lessons.

In total, learners will be able to reduce their compulsory supervised driving hours from 120 down to 80 if they participate in the new Safer Driving Course and also have 10 hours of professional lessons.

The new Safer Driving Course will involve both theoretical and practical training and has been developed in consultation with safety and industry experts.

The government also announced that from 1 July 2013, learners will be allowed to travel at 90km/h, instead of the current 80km/h.

The final aspect of the announcement is that restricted provisional drivers licences are being tested in three remote communities in northern NSW.

The restricted provisional licences are designed to assist young drivers from remote, lower socio-economic and Aboriginal communities satisfy the requirements to get their P-plates.

Under 25 year olds from those remote communities will be eligible for the restricted provisional drivers licence if they have completed 50 supervised driving hours and have passed the driving test.  They will only be able to use the restricted provisional licence to drive to work, education and medical appointments.

CTP Greenslips Across Australia

We know that those of us who take the time to shop around, we can find cheap green slips in NSW, but what about the rest of the country? People who are planning to make an interstate move to, or from, New South Wales, will be interested to know that the process for purchasing CTP insurance in NSW does not always work in exactly the same way across Australia.

Overview of CTP Insurance in NSW

When registering a motor vehicle in NSW several steps are involved once you receive your renewal notice from the State Government’s Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) Department (formerly Roads and Traffic Authority – RTA).

Firstly, you will need to get a Green Slip – your Compulsory Third Party Insurance. NSW registrations are unique in that you are able to compare prices in order to get the cheapest Green Slip NSW has on offer. Your previous insurer will send you a renewal notice well in advance, but you are under no obligation to renew with them.

Use our NSW Green Slip Calculator to find the cheapest Greenslips in NSW.

Once you have paid for your green slip, its details will be sent electronically to RMS.

The second step is to have your vehicle inspected for roadworthiness at an Authorised Safety Check Inspection Station (ASCIS) for light vehicles. (Heavy vehicles inspections are conducted though an HVAIS, and cranes are inspected by an ACIS.)

Your e-Safety check will be transmitted electronically to RMS.

You can then either complete your registration online, paying the required registration fee electronically, send your registration renewal with payment to the RMS, or present at an RMS location and pay in person.

From January 1, 2013, there is no longer a requirement for registration stickers to be displayed on NSW registered vehicles.

The NSW CTP Insurance scheme is explained in full on this website, including everything you need to know to compare and purchase your greenslip.

So that’s the story for CTP insurance in NSW, what about the other States and Territories?

How Much Is CTP Insurance in QLD?

When you register, or renew registration, on a motor vehicle in Queensland, there is no real need to shop around for the best Greenslip price. You simply nominate on your registration documents which insurer you choose to use, and the insurance is actioned at the same time as your registration.

There are six companies who provide CTP insurance in Queensland:
NRMA Insurance
RACQ Insurance

Their prices are all the same, which in February 2012, was $328.80 for 12 months, for a Vehicle Class 1, without Input Tax Credit Entitlement (ITCE).

However, as is the case with a CTP NSW insurer, if you have other policies with one of these providers, e.g. home contents insurance, then by electing them as your CTP insurance provider as well, you may be offered a multi-policy discount on those other products.

CTP Insurance in Victoria

In Victoria, when you register your car, a component of your registration is a TAC charge or TAC premium. ‘TAC’ stands for Transport Accident Charge, which is Victoria’s Compulsory Third Party insurance, its Greenslip.

Managed by the Victorian Government’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) rather than individual insurers, so there is no need to go through the process of searching for the cheapest Greenslip NSW-style.

The Transport Accident Act 1986 is the legislation that guides the type of benefits the TAC can pay, but they are essentially the same as in other states, i.e. for the treatment and compensation for people injured in accidents caused by drivers of Victorian registered vehicles.

How Much is a Green Slip in SA?

Compulsory Third Party Insurance in South Australia is referred to as Motor Injury Insurance, and is controlled by the Government’s Motor Accident Commission (MAC).  As with Victoria and Queensland, CTP insurance is bundled with your vehicles registration fees.

In 2013 the MAC increased insurance rates by an average of 4.7%. This brought the Class 1 passenger vehicle premium to $512 (family car garaged near or in Adelaide).

All claims enquiries and claims processing are managed by MAC’s Claims Manager, Allianz Australia Limited, which is one of the providers we compare to get the cheapest Green Slip NSW rates.

CTP ACT – Australian Capital Territory Green Slips

As with elsewhere in Australia, it is compulsory for anyone registering a vehicle to have compulsory third party insurance in the Australian Capital Territory.

Unlike the New South Wales model where, when registration time comes, around you can shop around and compare green slip NSW prices, there is only one provider of CTPI for ACT motorists – NRMA Insurance.

As a rough guide to rates, as at 1 September 2012, the CTP rate for a passenger vehicle in the ACT was $578.70.

CTP Insurance in Western Australia

Compulsory Third Party Insurance in Western Australia is provided by the state government under the auspices of the Insurance Commission of WA.  The Commission is subject to conditions of the insurance policy and the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943.

The premium to cover this insurance is included with motor vehicle registration.

For a Class 1X Motor car used for private purposes, the premium, as at 1 July 2012, was $245.01.  As with all other states, including NSW greenslips, prices vary depending on the type of motor vehicle being registered.

NRMA Covers Tasmania CTP

Tasmanian CTP insurance is governed by the Motor Accidents Insurance Board, but as in the ACT, the NRMA is the sole provider of green slips for Tasmania.

Green Slips in The Northern Territory

CTP insurance in the Northern Territory is paid as part of motor vehicle registration renewal, and is managed by the Territory Insurance Office (TIO). Currently the CTP component for a car of less than or equal to 4 cylinders is $227.90.

From July 1, 2013 the Northern Territory will abolish registration stickers.

New South Wales is unique in giving its motor vehicle owners the flexibility to seek out budget CTP green slip quotes, and using our free Greenslip Calculator allows you to do it all in one place.

Top 10 Misunderstood Road Rules

Transport for NSW has published information on the top 10 misunderstood Road Rules in NSW.

There are no surprises.

Misunderstood road rules include those associated with roundabouts, use of mobile phones, merging, keeping left, u-turns and yellow traffic lights.

The information is worth looking at, even as a refresher to make sure that your understanding of the road rules is up to date.

The information is available here.