Pedestrian Council of Australia

Safety – Amenity – Access – Health


Media Release

Sunday 13 March 2005



“There’s too much focus on speeding and seat-belt offences.”


The Chairman of the PCA, Mr Harold Scruby, today called upon NSW Roads Minister Michael Costa to consider doubling points on all Demerit-Point offences this Easter, not just speeding and seat-belt offences.


“For far too long, there has been a culture which focuses on speeding and seat-belt offences, while ignoring all the other dangerous driver behaviour which contributes to road trauma.” Mr Scruby said.


“For instance, this Easter, drivers who are alone in their vehicles, not wearing their seat-belts, where they are not compromising anyone else’s safety but their own, will receive double Demerit Points (6 points).  Yet they can run a red light, hog the outside lane, cross double-lines, go straight through a Stop sign, change lanes without indicating, use a hand-held mobile phone, etc., etc., where the potential for harm can be far greater to themselves and others, but double-demerit points do not apply.


The NSW Government Initiative ‘Road Safety 2010’ states: ‘In 1998 the double demerit points initiative resulted in the lowest ever recorded Easter road toll. These types of initiatives have strong community support.’  The PCA was instrumental in persuading the Government to implement the original double demerit point scheme.


“The current scheme is anomalous, incongruous and unfair.  It is also counter-productive because it means Police and the RTA tend to focus all their advertising, awareness, educational and enforcement resources on speeding and seat-belts, while ignoring other offences which can be equally or sometimes far more lethal.  Fatalities resulting from speeding and not wearing seat-belts, represent about half the deaths on our roads.  Yet all dangerous driver-behaviour contributes to the Road Toll. 


“We have publicly congratulated Mr Costa on his recent move to decrease the fines for low-range speeding while increasing  the Demerit Points.  It’s what we’ve been advocating for nearly a decade.  Fines favour the rich and are quickly forgotten.  Demerit Points treat all drivers equally and remain on drivers’ licences for 3 years as a constant reminder that if they continue to break the law, they’ll lose their licences.  It’s an extremely cost-effective education and awareness scheme.


“We also ask Mr Costa to waste no time in implementing the revised Demerit Point and Penalties scheme, which was supposed to have come into force on 1 March 2005.  This scheme took over 18 months to complete, it went through a detailed and widespread community consultation process and had the support of the Opposition, the former Minister for Roads, the Hon Carl Scully, the RTA, the NRMA, the Ministerial Road Safety Advisory Committee, the PCA, the P&C and many other interested organisations.” Mr Scruby said.



Harold Scruby - Chairman/CEO – Pedestrian Council of Australia - Tel: (02) 9968-4555   (0418) 110-011

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