Skip to Content

Australian government should increase demerit point limit for truckers

Australian government should increase demerit point limit for truckers

Truckers in Australia spend their whole lives on the road; is it really fair that their ability to earn a living is contingent on 12 demerit points?

The average Australian is allowed to accumulate 12 demerit points on their open license before it is suspended and the same law applies to truckers, but it is hardly fair. This is why the Australian government should allow truckers to exceed the demerit points limit by double.

RELATED: YouTube censoring trucker convoy livestreams.

Numerous nations have implemented a penalty point or demerit point system in which a driver’s licence is cancelled or suspended depending on the amount of points acquired over time as a result of traffic violations or infringements committed during that time period.

Despite the fact that it is designed to keep our roadways safe, the very system that is supposed to protect us sometimes burdens and bullies us for tiny, non-dangerous infractions.

Australian police speed camera
Australian cop strict on speed limit tolerance, even for truckers.

Recently, the Queensland government cut the number of kilometres per hour at which a motorist may accrue a demerit point from five to four. Briefly stated, driving 104 kilometres per hour in a 100-kilometer zone will result in a fine of AUD$183 and one demerit point being applied.

Enforcing ridiculous limits can be dangerous.

Most Australian drivers accidentally exceed the speed limit by a few kilometres per hour if they are not paying attention to their speedometers 100% of the time, and one could argue that it is safer to keep your eyes on the road and slightly exceed the speed limit than it is to constantly take your eyes off the road to ensure you are not going a few kilometres too fast.

In some ways, these absurd road restrictions contribute to the creation of a dangerous driving environment. Australian drivers are criminalised for committing minor, non-fatal human mistakes.

Missing or wrong speed limit signs on Australian roadways.
Missing or wrong speed limit signs on Australian roadways.

The Australian government also isn’t exactly transparent with what violations can occur demerit points. The official government website simply refers to these as “other miscellaneous offenses” and it is ultimately up to the driver to find out what these offenses might be.

One driver was fined AUD$173 and acquired a demerit point for simply taking a sip of water from a bottle while driving.

Man fined for drinking water.

“As I was pulling into my street I was pulled over by the police and told it was illegal to drink anything while driving,” the driver told ABC’s Rebecca Levingston.

The officer reportedly told Mr Harris that the AUD$173 fine and one demerit point was a result of him “not paying due care and attention”.

Man fined for drinking water while driving in Australia.
Man fined for drinking water while driving in Australia.

“If it is against the law then I’ll pay the fine, but it’s not compassionate to fine someone on a 39-degree day (for trying to) stay hydrated,” he said.

The demerit point system is deeply flawed. Millions of drivers lose their license and have to pay thousands in fines each year for minor offenses. However, some people have the luxury of being able to organise alternative means of transport to their works to continue to earn a living, but the same cannot be said for truckers.

Truckers drive to live.

Driving is the lifeblood of truckers worldwide; it is their primary source of revenue. They should be held to a different standard than the typical motorist.

The average motorist drivers approximately 13,000 kilometres per year, or 36 kilometres per day — that’s barely a fraction of what truckers cover.

Couriers live and sleep in their vehicles.
Truckers live and sleep in their vehicles.

While the Australia Standard Hours of Service rules restrict truckers from driving more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period, truckers drive anywhere from 10-20 hours straight each day.

If a trucker follows the regulations and only drives 12 hour per day, they are still covering a massive 22,530 kilometres per year; that’s at almost double what the average Australian drives.

Truck drivers are simply human, and while they are frequently the most cautious and safest drivers, they can make errors, and occasionally they are not even to blame.

Without trucks the world stops.

There are missing speed limit signs, damaged roads, roadwork messes, wild kangaroos, and a variety of other impediments that might make trucking more difficult. Merely with an updated GPS, navigating these roads and adhering to traffic regulations may be extremely tough; suffice it to say that even gazing at your GPS while driving can be deemed “using a mobile device while driving,” resulting in an automatic 4 demerit point increase.

Australian trucker/road train convoy to Canberra, 2022.
Australian trucker/road train convoy to Canberra, 2022.

Without trucks Australia stops. We should not add the extra stress of making truckdrivers fear that they may lose their jobs for minor traffic infringements. Since they drive more than double the distance and are behind the wheel most of their working lives, the Australian government should be very lenient when it comes to punishing them and increase the limits for demerit points on their licenses.

I honestly believe that truckers should receive a special license which has an increased limit of demerit points, and since they drive more than double what the Australian citizen does on average, they should be able to accumulate double the demerit points.