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More than a quarter of Gen Z guilty of driving habit that could cost them hundreds in fines

Reviewed by expert, David Koch
4 min read
22 Dec 2023
Group of friends driving while protecting by car insurance for young drivers

While driving an unregistered vehicle on public roads in Australia is illegal, new Compare the Market research has revealed that more than one in four Gen Z drivers are risking fines by letting their car’s registration lapse.

In fact, 26.04% of the cohort admit to the blunder – the most of any generation – and significantly above the national average of 14.09%.*

Millennial drivers weren’t far behind, with 1 in 5 (20.07%) admitting that they’d forgotten to renew their car’s registration at one point. Meanwhile, older drivers were the least likely to forget their vehicle registration, at a lower rate of 6.47% for Boomers and 12.28% for Gen X.

Compare the Market’s Economic Director, David Koch, said amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, big-ticket grudge purchases like car registration may not be at the front of mind for many Aussies.

“No matter which type of vehicle you drive or where in the country you live, car registration doesn’t come cheap and can significantly impact your savings or budget,” Mr Koch said. “However, this is one grudge purchase you don’t want to let slip.

“Not only is it illegal to drive an unregistered vehicle on public roads in Australia, but the fines can be astronomical if you’re caught. In fact, penalties can be thousands of dollars in some locations for some vehicles.

“Thankfully, drivers are given the option of paying for their rego annually or in more regular payments, so there is flexibility. The issue for many is just remembering when their registration is due.”

StateFine for driving an unregistered vehicle
NSWBetween $196 – $1,487, depending on vehicle
VICUp to $4,807.75
QLDBetween $313 and $417
SAUp to $7,500

Mr Koch said it wasn’t surprising that older drivers were most on top of their car registration, noting an ‘old school’ method that kept the due date front of mind.

“For drivers from my generation, we had a registration sticker slapped on our windscreen, which was a constant reminder of when our rego was due,” Mr Koch said. “While drivers these days are typically sent an email, text or physical reminder in the mail, there’s nothing quite like that daily reminder right in your face.

“Rego stickers were phased out about a decade ago, but Compare the Market is bringing them back to help Australians keep on top of their bills and registration due date. We’ve launched free rego stickers and digital rego and car insurance reminders for our ‘Simples’ App customers.”

The reminder could come in particularly handy for South Australian drivers, with 17.91% admitting that they’ve forgotten to renew their car registration. Queenslanders weren’t too far behind at 14.83%, followed by Victoria (14.28%) and NSW (11.11%).

State% who have forgotten to renew their car registration

WA, TAS, NT and ACT excluded due to low sampling data, but included in national total.

Mr Koch said there may also be confusion around when a vehicle registration is required. You’ll need to organise registration for:

  • Any new vehicles
  • Used vehicles
  • A vehicle if you’re moving to a different state or territory
  • A vehicle where the registration is about to expire

“Also be sure to update any changes to your address or personal details as soon as possible,” Mr Koch said. “It’s also advised to update your registration if you modify your vehicle in any way, if the vehicle’s primary purpose of use changes or if you become a Concession Card holder.

“While the exact method varies between states and territories, your state’s Department of Transport and Main Roads will be the best point of contact.”

Mr Koch said there were various ways to keep on top of your car’s registration.

  1. Check when your next registration is due. Your state’s Department of Transport and Main Roads will typically offer a free service where you can check your registration online or current status.
  2. Apply for a physical registration sticker. Compare the Market has rolled out free rego stickers and digital rego and car insurance reminders. Simply download our Simples App and follow the prompts.
  3. Add your rego renewal date to your calendar. The next time you renew, take note of the date and when you’ll next need to pay for your registration. Also take note of the frequency of your rego, as this will influence when your next payment is due.
  4. Put your notice on your fridge. It may sound silly, but print off any registration renewal notices and put them on your fridge or somewhere where you’re going to see them. Emails and text messages can get lost, so keep it front of mind.

*Survey of 1,002 Australian adults, conducted in November 2023.

For more information, please contact:  

Phillip Portman | 0437 384 471 | [email protected]

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, and home loans products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.


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avatar of author: Phillip Portman

Written by Phillip Portman

When he’s not busy writing, Phillip can usually be found at the movies, playing with his Italian Greyhound Wilma, hanging out with his cockatiel Tiki, or talking about everything pop culture. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Journalism and has previously written about health, entertainment, and lifestyle for various publications. Phillip loves to help others and hopes that people learn something new from his articles.

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