How do speed awareness courses work? Cost, penalty points and who will be offered one

More than 1 million drivers caught speeding in 2017 were sent on speed awareness courses – but what are they all about and who qualifies for one?

Here we take a look at the courses, what happens on them and who can take one.

Is it just speeding offences that ‘awareness’ courses cover?

Speedometer approaching

Not everyone will be offered a speed awareness course: Image credit

No. There are nine official retraining courses the police can offer where appropriate. These cover everything from speeding – with separate elements for motorway and 20mph zone offences – to training  for those who’ve had collisions or forgotten to wear a seatbelt.

Which courses are the ‘busiest’?

Out of the 1.4 million drivers sent on training courses in 2017, more than 1 million were for speeding offences, followed by around 100,000 drivers taking the ‘What’s Driving Us’ course, which covers a wide range of offences, such as drivers using a mobile phone at the wheel.

Can I ask to be sent on one these courses to ‘escape penalty points’?

No. Certainly not. If appropriate, the police will offer the course to the driver – not the other way round.

What makes me eligible for entry to one of these courses?

The philosophy behind the course is that drivers can be diverted from prosecution if it’s clear that the offence amounted to a lapse of concentration or error of judgement.

What happens on speed awareness courses?

The courses allow cops to let low-level speeding offenders to take an educational course, alerting them to the dangers and possible implications of speeding.

Drivers taking the course will be encouraged to consider why they were breaking the speed limit and to receive tips on reducing the likelihood of doing so again in the future.

A speed awareness course will prevent points being added to your licence, but only minor lapses will be considered

A speed awareness course will prevent points being added to your licence, but only minor lapses will be considered

How long does the course last and does it involve a practical session?

Completing the course can take up to four hours. There is no driving element – all training is theory-based and carried out in the classroom.

If offered a place, do I need to take it where the offence was committed?

Almost certainly not. Offenders can choose any location that runs the appropriate awareness course. However, some police forces use an alternative to the national provider, NDORS, in which case it’s possible the driver could be made to return to where the offence was committed.

What about penalty points?

If you complete the course, you will not have penalty points added to you licence.

What if I am caught speeding again?

Any speeding offence committed within three years of the original offence, will mean you’re likely to face prosecution and at least three penalty points. Drivers will not be offered a second speed awareness course within this three-year period.

Is there a cost for the course?

The price of the course varies across the country, but will typically cost around £100.

Don't speed is the simple answer

Don’t speed is the simple answer

Do I need to tell my insurance company?

Taking a speed awareness course is not a conviction and should not be treated as such by insurance companies.

Data from the courses is not shared with insurance companies.

It’s unlikely that you would need to inform your insurance company about a course taken during the lifetime of your current policy.

When renewing or applying for insurance, consumers were previously obliged to tell insurers about anything that ‘might’ be relevant even if it had not been requested by the company.

However, the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012, which came into force on 6 April 2013, modified this to mean that most of us only need to supply information that is directly requested.

So, unless the insurer asks directly about a speed awareness course, then it does not need to be disclosed. However, some companies will ask the question, so make sure you carefully read the policy.

Do I need to pass the course?

There is no pass or fail element to the course, but it must be completed for the offence to be dealt with in this way.

Does the course count as a conviction?

No, it does not. Attending the course calls a halt to any criminal proceedings.

If I get caught speeding again, will the original points be added to my record?

The answer is no. Once the course is completed the case is closed.

I have a non-GB licence – can I take a speed awareness course?

Yes – if the licence is valid for the vehicle in which the offence was committed and if it the course is offered by the cops.

Where can you book your place on a driver retraining scheme?

If you’ve been offered one by the police, you can book your course here. 


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