As part of the National Speed Awareness Scheme, Speed Awareness Courses were created to help educate drivers who have been caught speeding (but not excessively) and are offered at the discretion of the local police authority as there is an alternative to paying a fixed penalty fine and getting points on your driving licence.
The courses are organised by members of the Association of National Driver Improvement Course Providers and they ensure that the courses meet the required standards.
When will you be offered this option?
Ultimately it is up to the local police authority as to whether an offender is offered a place on a Speed Awareness Course. A number of factors will be taken into account before they make the decision, some of which are shown below.
Your speed was not excessively over the speed limit for the road
You must not have been on a Speed Awareness Course within the last 3 years
Your did not commit the offence in a 20mph zone
The local police authority considers that the course option is appropriate
If the course option is deemed appropriate you will be sent a letter asking you which option you want to take, which you will then have to reply to within a stated time frame. If you do not reply within this time frame then you will automatically receive your fixed penalty notice in the normal way.
If you choose to accept the course option, you will be sent a list of possible dates at one or more local venues. Once again if you fail to accept or attend (without a very good reason) then you will automatically receive the fixed penalty notice and points. Turning up late to the course will also be treated as a failure to attend.
Is there a fee for the course?
You will be charged a fee of typically between £60 to £100 for the course. Bearing in mind that you will receive a fixed penalty notice of around £60 anyway and that the points will remain on your licence for 4 years - it makes sense to take up their offer.
What can I expect when I attend
The courses are generally relaxed and informal. Despite attendance being compulsory, participation in the discussion sessions is not - although it is encouraged. They usually consist of groups of 10 - 20 people, all of which have committed minor speeding offences similar to yours.
The topics covered by the course include:-
The dangers of driving at excessive speeds
Increasing your awareness of the different speed restrictions for different types of road
Choosing the correct speed for the road conditions ie. stopping distances etc.
Interpreting road signs and road markings
When you get there
Be sure to allow plenty of time to get there, because you may not be allowed to enter if you are late, or be given another chance to attend.
Don't forget to bring your driving licence - this includes both the photo card and the paper counterpart licence.
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