Traffic offences and penalties

Driving unregistered vehicle

It is an offence to drive an unregistered or uninsured vehicle. In the Northern Territory (NT), compulsory third-party insurance is paid at the same time as the registration fee.

For more information read Section 6 of the NT Road Users' Handbook.

If you do not register and insure your vehicle, you can be fined or may have to go to court.

You may not be covered by your private vehicle insurance if your vehicle is unregistered and you are involved in a crash.

Driving unregistered/uninsured vehicle (one month or less and is not a heavy vehicle)$300
Driving unregistered/uninsured vehicle (more than one month but less than 12 months and is not a heavy vehicle)$800
Drive unregistered / uninsured motor vehicle (where vehicle unregistered or uninsured for 12 months or more and is not a heavy vehicle)$1500

Driving without L plates/P plates

Novice drivers and riders must display their L or P plates otherwise they will be fined and given demerit points.

OffenceFineDemerit points
Learner driver or rider without  L plates                    $100                                                                     2
Provisional driver or rider without P plates$1002

Driving without your licence

You must carry your licence at all times when driving or riding.

If you fail to show your licence when requested by police you could be given an on-the-spot fine.

Larger penalties could apply if you are caught driving while disqualified from holding a driver licence, or when your licence has been cancelled, refused or suspended.

OffenceFineDemerit points
Failure to produce licence on request$100N/A
Driving with expired licence within two months of expiry$200N/A

Mobile phones and visual display units

You must not use a hand-held mobile phone or visual display unit while driving, even if you are stopped at traffic lights.

OffenceFineDemerit points
Drive while using a hand-held mobile phone$5003
Learner or provisional using any mobile phone $5003
Drive while image on TV or visual display unit screen is visible to driver$5003
Drive while image on TV or visual display unit screen likely to distract another driver$5003

Railway crossing offences and penalties

When approaching a railway crossing, look and listen for trains, and slow down to a speed that allows you to stop quickly.

OffenceFineDemerit points
Fail to obey traffic control device at level crossing$5003

Serious driving offences

If you are convicted of a serious driving offence you can be disqualified from driving by a court. The court decides how long you should be disqualified for and you could even be sent to prison.

The following types of offences are heard in front of a Local Court judge and penalties can include a large fine, a prison term and disqualification from driving:

  • not stopping after a crash in which someone was injured or killed
  • driving while under the influence of alcohol or a drug
  • driving without a valid licence for the type of vehicle
  • driving while disqualified
  • driving at a dangerous speed
  • driving in a dangerous manner.

Heavier penalties may apply for second or subsequent offences.

Seat belt offences and penalties

As the driver of a vehicle you are responsible to make sure all passengers are properly restrained in a seat belt or approved child restraint. The following offences apply for not wearing a seat belt.

OffenceFineDemerit points
Driver fails to ensure a child is appropriately restrained$5003
Driver not wearing a seat belt $5003
Adult passenger (aged 16 and over) not wearing a seat belt $500N/A


Penalties for exceeding the speed limit include demerit points, fines and licence suspension. Penalties increase depending on how many kilometres per hour over the speed limit you are going.

OffenceFineDemerit points
Exceed speed limit by over 45km/h$1,0006
Exceed speed limit over 30km/h up to 45km/h$6004
Exceed speed limit over 15km/h up to 30km/h$3003
Exceed speed limit up to 15km/h$1501

Traffic light offences and penalties

Red light cameras are used to photograph vehicles that go through a red light.

If you are sent a penalty notice for driving through a red light, you can do one of the following:

  • pay the fine
  • submit a statutory declaration to NT Police to declare the name and address of the person driving the vehicle at the time of the offence
  • advise the NT Police that you want to have the case heard by a court.

Penalties for failing to obey red and yellow traffic lights include demerit points and a fine.

OffenceFineDemerit points
Fail to obey red traffic light$2403
Fail to obey yellow traffic light$100N/A

Penalty units

The amount you have to pay for your penalty is measured in penalty units.

To find out how much you have to pay, you will need to multiply the number of units by the penalty unit value.

Find out more about penalty units on the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice website.

Last updated: 01 August 2019

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