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Home Australia Inside the dodgy demerit points trade taking over social media

Inside the dodgy demerit points trade taking over social media

by nytime
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Drivers desperate to keep their licences after being caught breaking the law on Aussie roads have been found sneakily trying to offload their demerit points on social media, offering big bucks to those willing to absorb the penalties.

Community groups, Facebook Messenger and Marketplace appear to be the go-to places for those willing to make the highly illegal transactions, with both users trying to sell their points, and people willing to accept them from others, flocking to the platforms in droves.

When contacted by Yahoo News Australia under the guise of someone looking to offload points, one woman appeared more than willing to explain how the process works.

This Facebook user is charging $50 per point for those looking to offload their demerits. Source: Facebook.

“If it’s under five points, it’s $80 a point, over five points, $50 each,” one person revealed, who was likely using an online alias. Asked how she was able to obtain the points, they replied: “I’ll transfer the fines to myself”, pointing out that all she needed to do is “take responsibility for the fine and clear it from the services app”.

The user was more than happy to

The user was more than happy to “take responsibility” for the fine. Source: Facebook.

Social media a hotbed for dodgy demerit trades

“I just need your penalty notice and date of offence,” the user said, seemingly unfazed. “It doesn’t bother me,” she added, after being questioned whether she took issue with accumulating demerits.

That’s only one such example of the ruse, found posted in a Sydney eastern suburbs community page, with many more appearing on Marketplace.

Yahoo News Australia found several other ads for similar transactions with just a simple search. One user had offered to take on up to five points, for $70 per point, for anyone trying to offload their own.

More ads on Marketplace where Aussies are offering to exchange demerits for cash. Source: Facebook.

More ads on Marketplace where Aussies are offering to exchange demerits for cash. Source: Facebook.

Another made a similar offer, but charging $50 per point. Many more were found simply by searching on the platform, with other social media sites such as Reddit also appearing to be a hotbed for similar exchanges.

People are legally allowed to transfer their demerit point penalty to another driver if they weren’t behind the wheel at the time of the offence, but having someone else claim the points when they weren’t the driver is against the law.

‘Strong penalties in place’ for those caught in the act

Sally Webb, deputy secretary of safety, environment and regulation at Transport for NSW (TfNSW) said those caught doing the wrong thing will be caught and penalised.

“Revenue for NSW issues all penalty notices to the registered owner of the vehicle,” Ms Webb told Yahoo News Australia.

“The registered owner of the vehicle then has the opportunity to pay the fine, elect to have the matter heard before a court, or fulfil their obligation under the law to nominate the actual offender.

“There are strong penalties in place for a person who falsely nominates another person as being responsible for camera-detected driving offences.”

Fines for false nominations range up to $11,000

Under the Road Transport Act 2013, any person who falsely nominates another is liable to a penalty notice fine of $723. If convicted, the maximum penalty that the court can impose is a whopping $11,000.

The users urge those interested to direct message them for more details. Source: Facebook.

The users urge those interested to direct message them for more details. Source: Facebook.

Demerit-point offences are recorded by TfNSW for interstate and overseas driver licence holders, with the authority carrying out regular checks of overseas drivers. TfNSW uses that information to monitor the driving behaviour of drivers and may withdraw their visiting privileges if they have incurred 13 or more demerit points in a three-year period.

Just like any other driver in NSW, visiting drivers can have driving sanctions applied as a result of the accrual of excess demerit points.

According to TfNSW, the NSW Parliament is currently considering the Revenue, Fines and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 which will introduce penalties for people who offer to accept demerit points for offences they did not commit.

The maximum amount of demerit points a person can attract before losing their licence is 13 for an unrestricted licence, 14 for professional drivers, 7 for provisional P2 licences, 4 for provisional P1 licences and 4 for learners.

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