Mike Stevens | Oct 12, 2010

According to new research by the NRMA, a majority of motorists in New South Wales want to see the state's demerit system overhauled.

Surveying 1071 motorists in NSW, the NRMA found that 62 percent of motorists support a reduction in the amount of time demerit points stay on a licence, from three years to two years. Similarly, 53 precent would like to see the number of demerit points grow from 12 to 13.

The NRMA is also calling on the NSW Government to investigate the potential for allowing offenders to forgo a fine and demerit points if the offence is a 'low-range traffic offence'.

Under the proposed system - which is already in operation in some European countries - these offenders would instead complete a one-day training course at their own expense.

The option would only be available once every three years, with the regular penalty to be imposed at other times.

"Today we have fixed and mobile speed cameras, safety cameras, school zone cameras, red light cameras, bus lane cameras, highway patrols, planes with speed cameras, CCTV and council rangers - and if any of these catch you on a long weekend the punishment is doubled," NRMA Motoring and Services Group CEO Tony Stuart said.

"If we keep coming up with new ways to catch drivers without giving something back to motorists then the public's confidence in the demerit system may wane."

Mr Stuart said the NSW Government should also look to "catch up" with other states by offering discounts to deserving drivers.

Unsurprisingly, 95 percent of motorists support discounts on licence renewals for drivers with a clean record.

The NRMA survey found 23 percent of motorists had received a traffic infringement over the last two years. The survey also found:

  • 39 percent were unaware that a full licence had 12 demerit points
  • 7 percent had been booked during a double demerit period
  • 35 percent were unaware that safety (speed) cameras operate in NSW
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