Around 2.7 million people are caught speeding every year, and the percentage of people who speed tends to get higher the lower the speed limit actually is.
If you’re caught speeding, you could be given penalty points on your driving licence and a monetary fine, but you might be able to take a speed awareness course instead.
Here, we take a look at speed awareness courses, offering insight into what happens and why you may have been charged in the first place.
Rather than giving speeding drivers an outright punishment, speed awareness courses are designed to educate drivers about the dangers of speeding.
If you were caught by a camera rather than physically pulled over by a police officer, you’ll receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and a Section 172 notice in the post. These will be sent to the owner of the vehicle, asking who was driving the vehicle at the time.
You will then either receive a fixed penalty notice (which is usually a monetary fine and three licence points), or you’ll be told to attend a speed awareness course. For more serious speeding offences, you may be told to go to court.
If you have already completed a speed awareness course in the past three years, you won’t be offered to attend again. Instead, you will automatically be given the points and fine.
The Association of Chief Police Officers advises officers to penalise drivers based on a ’10 + 2’ guideline. This means that you could be charged for speeding if you’re doing 10% of the speed limit, plus 2mph. This would be 24mph in a 20mph zone, 46 in a 40mph zone, and 79 in a 70mph zone, for example.
Among other reasons, the ‘10+2’ guide tends to be there to allow for variations in speedometers. However, it’s important to remember that this is only a guideline, and if you’re caught speeding at all, you could be charged.
Speed awareness courses don’t involve any driving. Instead, they’re purely based on theory. They’ll usually begin with the attendees sharing their experiences of getting caught speeding, and there will then be an interactive presentation about the dangers of speeding.
If the person presenting the course considers you to be uncooperative, they may report you, and you could be given the points and fine. You won’t have to take a formal test to pass or fail the quiz. As long as you engage positively, just attending the course is enough.
In-person speed awareness courses tend to last for about four hours, with a break in the middle. These courses will have anywhere up to 24 people.
Over the last few years, however, online speed awareness courses have become an alternative option. These came about due to the coronavirus pandemic, but have remained popular since. Online courses will have up to nine drivers participating, and are instead about two and a half hours long.
The cost of your speed awareness course will depend on which police force caught you, and which course provider they use.
Typically, a speed awareness course in the UK will cost between £70 and £100, but £90 is the standard price. By comparison, the minimum speeding fine alongside three licence points is £100.
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