Four Driving Offences to Avoid in NSW, QLD, and VIC this Festive Season

As the 2023 holiday season approaches and the roads get busier, it's important for drivers to be aware of the driving offences they should steer clear of to ensure a safe and enjoyable break that won’t cost more than the fuel in your tank. 

Like every public holiday long weekend, double demerits will apply between Friday 22 December through to Monday 1 January, 2024 inclusive. But while potential fines and demerit points should be enough of a deterrent, you could also be hit by an increase to your car insurance premium or even a loss of insurance for bad behaviour on the roads.

So in order to make sure you keep your licence (and cash) inside your wallet, and your car insurance premium down, here’s four offences you’ll definitely want to avoid. And remember,  should you be unlucky enough to get stung during the Christmas break, it will cost you double the demerit points. 

Here’s a rundown of what drivers in NSW, Victoria and Queensland could expect:

1. Exceeding the speed limit by 10 km/h or more: In all three states, exceeding the speed limit by 10 km/h or more can lead to substantial penalties.

  • NSW, the fine for this offence is $285 and carries three demerit points
  • QLD, the penalty amounts to $431 and includes three demerit points
  • VIC, drivers caught exceeding the speed limit by 10 km/h or more face a fine of $370, along with three demerit points to their driving record.

Potential hit to your insurance: While the impact on car insurance premiums may vary among insurers, accumulating demerit points can result in increased premiums, reflecting a higher risk assessment.

2. Using your mobile phone while driving: Using a mobile phone while driving is a serious offence that is strictly enforced in all three states.

  • In NSW, the fine is $349 and carries five demerit points
  • QLD imposes a similar penalty, with a heavy fine of $1,061 and four demerit points.
  • In VIC, the fine for this offence is $555 and carries four demerit points.

Potential hit to your insurance: When it comes to car insurance, drivers with mobile phone offences on their record may face higher premiums, as insurers consider it a risky behaviour associated with distracted driving and a likely cause of future accidents.

3. Driving without a seatbelt: Driving without a seatbelt is not only dangerous should you end up in a car accident, but also carries significant penalties, applying to both drivers and passengers.

  • In NSW, the fine for this offence is $387, along with three demerit points.
  • In QLD, the penalty amounts to $1161 and carries four demerit points
  • In VIC, drivers caught without a seatbelt can face a fine of $385 and three demerit points.

Potential hit to your insurance: Insurance providers generally view failure to wear a seatbelt as a negligent behaviour, potentially resulting in higher car insurance premiums. So it pays to obey the law and keep all passengers in your vehicle safe.

4. Driving a vehicle with an unsecured load:Driving a vehicle with an unsecured load poses risks to both the driver and other road users.

  • In NSW, this offence carries a fine of $457 and three demerit points. 
  • In QLD, the penalty amounts to $256 and three demerit points. 
  • In VIC, drivers caught with an unsecured load may face a fine of $242 and three demerit points.

Potential hit to your insurance: Insurers frown upon this offence as it is a breach in road safety standards, potentially resulting in increased car insurance premiums, costing you more to be protected on the road.

Does your car insurance stack up on features and price?

It’s a timely reminder before you head away or enjoy some summer downtime to review your car insurance policy so that you know what you are and aren’t covered for as well. And it doesn’t cost you anything to compare your options to make sure that you’re getting good value with your current insurer.

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