Penalties and infringements

Heavy Vehicle National Law – 2016/17 Court Imposed and Infringement Penalties (PDF, 142 KB) provides a summary of the penalties and infringements outlined in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

Types of penalties established under the HVNL

The HVNL contains three different types of penalties:

  • infringeable offences
  • court imposed penalties
  • demerit points. 

Infringeable offences

An infringeable offence is one which results in the issue of an infringement notice. The infringement notice sets out the details of an alleged offence, usually a strict liability offence. It gives the person issued the notice the option of either paying the penalty set out in the notice or electing to have the matter dealt with by a court.

The payment level for infringeable offences in the HVNL is set at 10% of the maximum court imposable penalty. This is consistent with the Australian Law Reform Commission recommendation that infringements should be set at 20% or less of the maximum court imposable fine.

Court imposed penalties

Some offences, generally the more serious ones, are not infringeable and must be dealt with by a court. The HVNL sets out the maximum penalty level that the court may apply.

Demerit points

Demerit points attach to a driver’s licence. As a general rule, demerit points are managed through each state and territories’ road traffic law. There are a total of 330 offences in the HVNL – 144 are infringeable and 186 are not. Eight of the 330 offences impose demerit points.

Indexation of penalties

A major component of maximum penalties is the deterrence factor they offer in the compliance and enforcement framework. In order to remain relevant, it is necessary that penalties rise in line with other costs of business, and to this end the HVNL contains an in-built indexing mechanism. This mechanism uses Australian Bureau of Statistics figures to provide an indexed amount each year, building on the original maximum penalties. Indexation occurs on 1 July of any given year.