What is the Demerit Points System?
The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act was amended in 2017, and brought the Judiciary, representatives of the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, TTPost and other stakeholders into a collaborative working relationship, to implement a new traffic system.
The Demerit Points System – utilised to monitor, track and improve the road behaviour of drivers, was conceived and implemented as a part of this transformative traffic system.
How does the Demerit Points System work?
- Demerit points are electronically calculated and recorded on driving permit records.
- Everyone starts with zero (0) demerit points on their driving permit record.
- A person can accumulate demerit points on their driving permit record, for committing certain traffic violations and offences which carry demerit points.
- The more traffic violations or offences that are committed – such as speeding, unauthorised use of the Priority Bus Route, or Driving Under the Influence of alcohol (DUI), the more demerit points that are electronically accumulated on a person’s driving permit record.
- Depending on the total amount of demerit points accumulated within a specified period, this could result in the suspension of a person’s driver’s permit, as well as other consequences.
Why do we need the Demerit Points System?
The System is securely and confidentially managed through an Electronic Demerit Points Register on the U-Turn Software Management System.
The U-Turn System is maintained and monitored for efficiency and effective operation by highly trained personnel in the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC).
The TEC plays a pivotal role within the demerit point system, by digitally sharing real time information with all the stakeholder agencies involved in road traffic law enforcement.
This relationship, along with the demerit points system, seeks to foster safer roadways through:
The prevention and deterrence of high-risk driving behaviour;
The detection of repeat or frequent offenders by calculating demerit points and notification of driving permit suspensions; and
The reforming of repeat offenders through a rehabilitative driving programme and re-siting the driving test.
How does the Demerit Points System affect me as a driver?
- Every driver starts with zero (0) demerit points on his/her driving permit record.
- The vast majority of the traffic offenses and violations form part of the Traffic Ticketing System and the Demerit Points System.
- Demerit points are placed on a person’s driving permit record only after payment of a Traffic Ticket.
- Failure to pay the Traffic Ticket and/or contest the Traffic Ticket within the prescribed time frame; or conviction before a court for a traffic violation or offence that carries demerit points, will result in demerit points being placed on a person’s driving permit record.
- Demerit Points will stay on your record for a maximum of two (2) years.
- Once two (2) consecutive years have passed without the driver accumulating additional demerit points, these points will automatically be removed from his/her driving permit record.
- If a driver reaches their maximum threshold of demerit points according to the law, he or she can be disqualified from driving for a specified period.
- For the purpose of administering demerit points and disqualification periods, there is a distinction between:
- A newly licensed driver or provisional permit holder (an individual who holds their driving permit for a period of twelve (12) months or less from the date of issue).
- An experienced driver (an individual who holds their driving permit for a period of more than twelve (12) months from the date of issue).
How are Demerit Points calculated for Experienced drivers?
The Demerit Points for an experienced driver are calculated as follows:
How are Demerit Points calculated for Newly Licensed drivers?
Note: There are no demerit points for traffic violations detected by automated cameras e.g. red-light and spot speed cameras.
Double Demerit Points
Statistics show an increase in road fatalities and serious accidents during certain periods e.g. long weekends, Easter, Carnival, Christmas and New Year’s Day Holiday Season.
To ensure safer roads, demerit points may be doubled for specified traffic violations during these periods. For example, driving while holding or using a handheld mobile device carries three (3) demerit points.
During the double demerit points period, this traffic violation will carry six (6) demerit points.
The public will be notified of the implementation of double demerit points by way of publication in the daily newspapers, at least five (5) days prior to its commencement.
The period allocated to double demerit points will not exceed ten (10) consecutive days.
Recording Simultaneous Demerit Points
- If a motorist has committed multiple traffic violations in one incident, he or she will be issued a traffic ticket for each traffic violation.
- The motorist will be responsible for paying ALL the stipulated fines on each ticket.
- Only the traffic violation that carries the highest number of demerit points will be applied on the driving permit record of the driver.
- For example, if a driver receives a ticket for the unauthorized use of the Priority Bus Route which carries six (6) demerit points, and also receives a ticket for an overcrowded vehicle which carries three (3) demerit points – in the same instance, the driver of the vehicle will be required to pay both fines. However, only six (6) demerit points will be applied to the driving permit record of the driver, which represents the highest of the both violations.
- Only in the instance where a driver breaks the red light (without being captured by the camera enforcement technology) AND exceeds the speed limit, will the demerit points for both violations be recorded, AS WELL AS the highest number of demerit points for any other violation arising out of the same incident.
Disqualification Process for Driving Permits
If you accumulate or exceed the threshold of demerit points and are subject to disqualification, the Licensing Authority will notify you in writing prior to disqualification.
Once you receive this notification of impending disqualification, you can explain in writing to the Licensing Authority, why your driving permit should not be suspended.
Where you fail to show good reasons, the Licensing Authority will inform you of the disqualification. The disqualification will take effect fourteen (14) days after the date of the notice.
You will then be required to surrender your driving permit to the Licensing Authority, according to the instructions given in the notification letter [Step 1].
Failure to surrender your driving permit to the Licensing Authority is an offence that carries a fine of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) and further disqualification for an additional period of one (1) year.
A driving permit disqualified by the Licensing Authority during the period of suspension, will be invalid. You are committing an offense if you drive while your driving permit has been suspended.
When the disqualification period expires, all demerit points recorded against your driving permit record will be expunged or removed.
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Contesting Your Disqualification
The Licensing Authority is required to specify when suspension will occur, not less than fourteen (14) days after the date of the notice. A person who is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving permit may appeal to a Court within fourteen (14) days of the receipt of the notice.
Regaining Your Driving Permit After Disqualification
At the end of their disqualification period, to regain permission to drive, a driver must go into the Licensing Authority and file an application to be issued a driving permit.
They are then required to undertake the following actions:
Participate in a driver’s rehabilitation programme approved by the Licensing Authority. This can be defensive driving or some other accredited programme similar in nature.
Re-sit and pass a driving test and regulation examination.
Pay the prescribed fee for the re-issue of the driving permit.
Expunged Demerit Points
Demerit Points will remain on the record of a driver for a maximum of two (2) years. After two (2) consecutive years have passed without the driver accumulating additional points, the existing number of demerit points will automatically be expunged or removed from his/her driving permit record, therefore returning the driver’s record to zero.
Demerit points are expunged from a driver’s driving permit record under two conditions:
- The expiration of the disqualification period; or
- Maintaining good driving behaviour for a period of two (2) consecutive years.
Demerit Points for Traffic Violations and Offenses
Please see the table below for a listing of traffic violations and offenses that carry Demerit Points under the Ninth Schedule located under the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, tab on the homepage.
- Where there is no fixed penalty fine stipulated, this is an offense or violation that is not subject to the Fixed Penalty Traffic Ticketing System. In that instance, Demerit points will be recorded only upon conviction before a Court.
A Guide to Understanding the Demerit Point System
MVRT Act Chapter 48.50
MVRT Act No. 9 of 2017
Vehicle Testing Stations
MOWT Divisions & Units
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- Coastal Protection Unit
- Construction Division
- Drainage Division
- Environmental, Health and Safety Unit (EHSU)
- Highway Division
- Mechanical Division
- Maintenance Division
- Maritime Services Division
- Priority Bus Route Unit
- Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE)
- The Traffic Management Branch (TMB)
- Traffic Warden Division
- Transport Division
- The Unemployment Relief Programme
- Central Planning Unit
Driving Permit Applications & Renewals
- Applying for a Provisional Driving Permit
- Renewing your Driving Permit
- Applicant Categories
- Renewal of Driver's Permits for Ten (10) years.
Replacement of Lost Permit
- Issuance or Replacement Driver's Permit (Duplicate)
- Applicable fees if you’re applying for a replacement of an expired driving permit
Maxi Taxi Regulations
- Applying for a Taxi-Driver's Badge & Taxi Driver's License
- Associated fees for applying for a Taxi Driving Permit
- Renewing of a Taxi Driver's Badge & Driving Permit
- Fees for Replacement of a Taxi Badge & Taxi Driving Permit
- Replacing your Taxi Driver's Badge & Driving Permit
- Ownership of Maxi Taxi Services
- Maxi Taxi Operator's Permit
Class 4 & 5 Applications (Heavy T)
The applicant must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age and the holder of a driving permit of the next lower class of motor vehicle.
Registration of Motor Vehicles
- Fees for Registration of a Motor Vehicle
- Registration of Foreign - Used vehicle
- Change of Registration of a Motor Vehicle
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Register Notification of Change of the following particulars
Transfer of Ownership
- Transfer of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle other than by Death
- Transfer of Ownership of Motor Vehicle on Death of Registered Owner
- Colour or Engine Number
- Chassis Number
- Requirements for Visitors to drive in Trinidad &Tobago
- Requirements for Dealer's License First Issue
- Renewal of Dealer's License
- Application for Replacement of a Dealer's License
- Application for Rental Operation
Notice for Drivers
For More information on the Amendments to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, please visit the Ministry’s website – www.mowt.gov.tt and click on MVRT Act Chapter 48 50 tab.
Remember, to avoid a traffic ticket and demerit points simply obey the road traffic laws. Do not act contrary to the law outlined in the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act Chapter 48:50.
The Transport Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport wishes to advise all permit holders /motorists to ensure that their vehicles are in compliance with the TARE Weight and Maximum Gross TARE Weight in keeping with the law.