Five driving offences you’ll want to avoid in New South Wales this long weekend
With the long weekend now just days away the good people of New South Wales will be honouring Queenie’s 91st birthday in the only way they know how - by racing out of work on Friday afternoon, piling into their cars and driving off in every direction to make the most of those precious 72 hours.
Like every public holiday long weekend, double demerits will apply between Friday the 9th and Monday the 12th of June. But while potential fines and demerit points should be enough of a deterrent for drivers, a recent Mozo comparison of 20 car insurance policies* revealed that you could also be hit by a 10% increase to your premium or even a loss of insurance for bad behaviour on the roads this long weekend.
So in order to make sure you keep your licence (and cash) inside your wallet, and your car insurance premium down, here’s five offences you’ll definitely want to avoid.
1. Exceed the speed limit by 10 km/h
- The fine: $265
- The demerits: Normally you’d be forced to cop a 3 demerit point penalty for this one, but with double demerits applying over the long weekend you’ll face a whopping 6 demerit point penalty.
- The hit to your car insurance: On top of your fine, the Mozo car insurance comparison found that one insurer bumped up its comprehensive car insurance premium by $126.99 for drivers who disclosed any lost demerit points in the previous four years.
2. Use your mobile phone while driving
- The fine: $325
- The demerits: The standard penalty for illegal use of a mobile phone while driving was bumped up to 4 demerit points in 2016, but with double demerits applying over the long weekend you’ll face a massive 8 demerit point penalty.
- The hit to your car insurance: You could face a premium increase (up to 10% in our case example) for any demerit points lost. More concerning for anyone who already has lost demerit points is that an 8 point demerit hit could be enough to suspend your licence and void your insurance. The Mozo comparison found that one insurer increased its premium by nearly $400 for drivers with a recent licence suspension.
3. Drive without a seatbelt
- The fine: $325 if you’re found driving without a seatbelt, and $325 for an unrestrained passenger in your car.
- The demerits: You’ll be hit with a 6 demerit point penalty over the long weekend for not wearing a seatbelt, and another 6 demerit points if just one of your passengers is not wearing theirs.
- The hit to your car insurance: Given that you could face a demerit hit of 12 points if you and a passenger are caught without seat belts, that could spell a licence suspension. This could severely reduce your insurance options when it comes time to renew, as the Mozo comparison found that 30% of insurers won’t offer comprehensive policies to drivers with a record of suspension in the past 3-5 years.
4. Drive a vehicle with an unsecured load
- The fine: Whether you’re towing a trailer, boat or anything else this long weekend, make sure that your load is secured otherwise you’ll be hit with a $433 fine.
- The demerits: While double demerits don’t apply for towing offences, you’ll still have to cop 3 demerit points if your load is unsecured.
- The hit to your car insurance: Whether this is your first loss of demerits or the offence which leads to a licence suspension, you could face an increase in your premium or even the inability to renew your car insurance policy depending on your insurer.
5. Ignore variable speed limits
- The fine: When heading away for the weekend you’re usually driving on roads that you aren’t used to, so watch out for variable speed limits on bridges, tunnels or areas where there are roadworks. An area that is normally 60km/h could be 40 km/h, and if you're caught going 20km/h over the limit you’ll receive a $455 fine.
- The demerits: Exceeding the limit by 20km/h would normally earn you 4 demerit points, but because it’s the long weekend you’d be in for a bumper hit of 8 demerit points.
- The hit to your car insurance: Like the other scenarios mentioned above the impact on your insurance depends on your driving history, with potential penalties ranging from a 10% increase on your premium to the possibility of not being able to renew with your insurer.
So play it safe on the road this long weekend and enjoy your three day break without a hit to your wallet or any unwanted demerit points. If you’re looking for a new car insurance policy make sure you head on over to the Mozo car insurance comparison page to compare some of the best deals on the market.
* The Mozo car insurance comparison compared 20 of the most popular car insurance policies in Australia. The results were based on a 35 year old male from Sydney with no recent claims, driving a 2012 Toyota Corolla which was parked overnight in a secured garage.