Reform of licence disqualification laws

Reforms to licence disqualification laws in NSW will start in late October 2017. These new laws will help people get back on track. They will give police more on-the-spot powers to take away plates or vehicles.

One reason for reform is long disqualification periods unfairly hit people in regional or rural towns. They have limited access to work, education or health care. People who can prove they have not driven while disqualified should benefit from these changes.

Changes to the law

  • Police can remove plates or cars on-the-spot to stop repeat offenders and dangerous drivers
  • People who do not drive while disqualified for at least 2 years can apply to lift their licence disqualification early. (But not for driving offences involving death or grievous bodily harm.)
  • Penalties for unauthorised driving will be more in line with other driving offences
  • Habitual Traffic Offender Scheme abolished because longer disqualification periods and higher fines had little deterrent effect.

Driving while disqualified

Driving while disqualified (DWD) includes driving while unlicensed or disqualified, applying for a licence without mentioning their disqualification or misstating their name on a driving application.

  • DWD is highly prevalent in NSW (up to 75% of driving offences)
  • DWD offenders are three times more likely than other drivers to be responsible for road deaths (US study).

The new laws abolish the Habitual Traffic Offender Scheme because it did not deter people from reoffending. Research shows individual attributes are a better predictor they will return to court. For example, offenders tend to be male, non-Indigenous, under 30, living in a major city, and relatively disadvantaged.

Starting date

The Department of Justice expects new disqualification laws to begin in late October 2017.

CTP insurers always ask whether a person has been disqualified from driving in the past two years. If you have been disqualified in the past two years and regained your licence, the price of your green slip will be higher.