If you have recently received a Notice of Intended Prosecution for a minor speeding offence and have admitted to being the driver, you may be offered a speed awareness course as an alternative to a fixed penalty summons or Court requisition. Courses are only offered where the speed is not more than 10 % + 9mph above the speed limit (eg. 42 mph in a 30mph limit, 53mph in a 40mph limit etc). You will also only be eligible for the course if you have not already attended a similar course in the three years prior the date of the alleged offence. If you have already taken a speed awareness course within this period, a fixed penalty of 3 points and a £60 fine may be offered if the speed alleged is no more than 20mph over the speed limit in a 30mph limit or 25mph over the limit in the case of higher speed limits. If you deny the offence or the speed is considered too high for a fixed penalty or speed awareness course then a Court summons will normally be issued at which time we will be available to discuss your options with you.
Are the criteria for eligibility the same throughout the whole of England and Wales?
No. For offences committed in London the courses are only offered for alleged offences within 30mph and 40mph speed limit roads.
Is it free?
No. The cost varies geographically and is typically somewhere between £80-£100.
What happens on the Course?
The courses usually take place on an evening or at the weekend. They are run by people with professional driver training backgrounds and follow national guidelines. The police are not involved in delivering the course. The classroom session should last around 4 hours although the exact content and format varies from area to area. There is no actual written or practical driving test and therefore you cannot fail the course however you will be expected to participate in group discussions. There may be up to 30 people on the course and it is essential that you are on time or you will not be allowed to take the course. You will be required to bring some photographic proof of identity and therefore we would advise taking both parts of your driving licence with you.
Should I do the Speed Awareness Course?
There are mixed reviews about the course ranging from informative, interesting, enjoyable to condescending and patronising. However, for the sake of a few hours you will keep your licence free from penalty points. After completing the course that will be an end to the matter and there will be no record of the offence on your licence.
Am I required to inform my insurance company that I have attended a Speed Awareness Course?
If the terms and conditions of your insurance policy require you to do so you must inform your insurers that you have attended the course. Unfortunately, some insurers have recently started to use this information to justify increases to premiums (although the increase is unlikely to be as high as it would be in the case of penalty points). Insurance companies are also now able to access information about who has attended from the police. Therefore if your insurers asks you if you have attended a course you must inform them.