Driving laws, offences, fines and penalties

There are many laws governing motorists. If you breach the road rules or your licence conditions, you could incur demerits, have to pay a fine or face more serious consequences like losing your licence.

Demerit points

Drivers incur demerit points for certain traffic offences. 

An offence that attracts demerit points remains on your licence record for three years from the date of the offence.

If you accumulate 12 or more demerits in a three year period you could lose your licence. If you are on a learner's permit or provisional licence you can only get four demerit points before you lose your licence. To find out how many demerits you have, go to checking your demerits and driving history.

The number of demerit points you get, depends on the offence and how likely it is to cause a crash.  A summary of the most common offences and the fines can be found on 

A full list of offences and demerit points is contained in the demerit point brochure 934.9 KB or in the Motor Vehicles Regulations 2010, see Schedule 4.

Fines and expiations

If you commit a traffic offence, you may be issued with an expiation notice and have to pay a fine.

Expiations can be issued for a variety of reasons. Drivers are most likely to be issued one for a breach of traffic laws, for example a speeding offence. has a summary of common offences and fines.

Complete lists of fines can be found in the South Australian Legislation web pages. 

See Schedule 4 of the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous) Regulations 2014 and Schedule 5 of the Motor Vehicles Regulations 2010.

A Victims of crime levy also applies to most traffic offences.  Refer to Schedule 1.

Overdue fines

If you have an overdue fine, you may have your driver's licence suspended or be refused vehicle registration. For more information see fines enforcement restrictions.

Losing your licence - disqualification

You could be disqualified from driving if you:

  • accumulate 12 or more demerit points on a full licence
  • accumulate four or more demerit points when you are on a learner's permit or provisional licence
  • exceed any speed limit by 10 km/h or more if you are on a learner's permit or provisional licence
  • breach your licence conditions
  • drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For certain drink driving and excessive speeding offences an immediate loss of licence applies.

When returning from disqualification you may have probationary conditions added to your licence.

Any driver aged 25 years or under whose learner's permit or provisional licence has been disqualified is required to participate in the ur choice program.

Serious drink driving offences

Drivers who commit a serious drink driving offence must have an alcohol interlock (breath-testing) device fitted to their vehicle for a period of time at the end of their licence disqualification.

A serious drink driving offence is defined as:

  • a second or subsequent offence, within a period of five years, of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08
  • driving with a BAC at or above 0.15
  • driving under the influence of an intoxicating liquor
  • refusing to provide a sample of breath or blood for the purpose of alcohol testing.

Laws governing motorists

For more information on road safety related offences go to the mylicence website.

Complete details on laws that apply to motorists are contained within the South Australian Legislation.

Most laws governing drivers are covered by the Road Traffic Act 1961 and the Regulations made under this Act such as the Australian Road Rules 1999.

The issuing of driving licences, motor vehicle registration and compulsory third party (CTP) insurance is regulated under the Motor Vehicles Act 1959.

Serious offences (otherwise known as indictable offences) such as causing death or injury by reckless or dangerous driving are contained in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935.

Demerit points that apply to road traffic offences are set out in the Motor Vehicles Regulations 2010. Go to Schedule 4 for a list of demerit points offences.

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Page last updated: 27th March 2015