Home | Browse Topics | Criminal & traffic law | Driving and traffic law | Demerit points: Losing your licence for a bad driving record

Criminal & traffic law

Losing your licence: Suspensions and disqualifications

Demerit points: Losing your licence for a bad driving record

What is the demerit points system?

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 88–91

Under the demerit points system you can receive a suspension or disqualification for an accumulated record of poor driving. For certain driving offences you get a specific number of demerit points for the offence, as well as the other penalties for the offence such as a fine. If you accumulate 100 demerit points within two years, you’ll lose your licence for three months.

What offences carry demerit points?

Land Transport Act 1998, s 88; Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999, reg 6, Schedule 2

Demerit points are given for all speeding offences (except those recorded by a speed camera) and for a range of other traffic offences.

The number of points you get depends on the type of offence – for example:

  • driving over the speed limit by 10 km/h – 10 points
  • breaching the conditions of your licence – 20 points
  • careless or inconsiderate driving – 35 points
  • driving over the speed limit by more than 35 km/h – 50 points
  • driving over the under-20 alcohol limits – 50 points
  • adult drivers with breath-alcohol between 250 and 400 mcg – 50 points.

Land Transport Act 1998, s 112

Note: If you appeal your conviction for the offence, the demerit points won’t take effect while you’re waiting for the result of your appeal.

What happens as you accumulate demerit points

Land Transport Act 1998, s 89

If you’ve accumulated 50 or more demerit points, the NZ Transport Agency will send you a notice telling you this and telling you what will happen if you get more points. However, any suspension or disqualification you get later will still be valid even if you didn’t get this warning notice.

Land Transport Act 1998, s 89

If you accumulate 100 or more demerit points in any two-year period, the NZTA must suspend your licence for three months. If you haven’t got a current licence, you’ll be disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for three months instead. At this point your demerit points are wiped from your record.

Land Transport Act 1998, s 88(4)

Note: For the purpose of working out how many points you’ve accumulated over what period of time, demerit points are taken as being given on the date on which you committed the offence, not the date on which you were convicted for it.

How demerit points can be cleared from your record

Land Transport Act 1998, s 91

Demerit points will be cleared from your record if:

  • your licence is suspended (or you’re disqualified) because of accumulated demerit points, or
  • you go for two years without committing any offences that attract demerit points, or
  • you’re disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for six months or more.

Did this answer your question?

Driving and traffic law

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Applying for a limited licence” (guide)

This Plain English guide, plus template application forms and affidavits, will help you apply for a limited licence. It’s available on the Community Law website – www.communitylaw.org.nz

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA)


Phone: 0800 699 000
Email: info@nzta.govt.nz

The NZTA site provides a wide range of driving and road safety information, including on topics covered in this chapter.

You can read and download fact sheets and other publications from their site, or you can order hard copies by contacting them, including their fact-sheet on Legal mobile phone use while driving.


NZ Police

Frequently Asked Questions


The “Driving/road safety” and “Tickets/infringements” section of this webpage have Frequently Asked Questions about traffic fines, speeding, demerit points and where you can pay your fines.

Consumer protection

“Parking, towing and clamping”


This Consumer Protection webpage has information about the law covering tow trucks and wheel-clamping on public and private property, and about unreasonable fees in private car parks.

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life. It’s for people living in Aotearoa New Zealand (and their advocates) to help themselves.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top