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Speed awareness courses

Speed awareness courses are one of the tools the government is using to try and make our roads safer. To a large extent they seem to be working, with a study showing that you are 23% less likely to reoffend within six months of attending. They offer a way for you to avoid a costly three points on your license and help you understand the economic benefits of driving slower. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about speed awareness courses, and perhaps most importantly, how they will affect your car insurance premiums.

In This Guide:

What is a speed awareness course?

A speed awareness course aims to try and educate drivers about their speeding, in an attempt to stop them from doing it again. They’re not used by every police force each time a driving offence is committed. However, they are a technique that they can employ instead of just giving a blanket 3 points and 100 pound fine.

Although the regional police will decide if they use a speed awareness course or not, they do not run them themselves. It has been delivered by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme since 1991. However, there are regionally specific, independent providers that will offer the course working alongside the local police. All of these providers will be regulated by the National Association of Driver Intervention Providers, and the fees will vary depending on where you do your course. The price is variable, but it is generally in between £80 and £100.

Am I eligible for a speed awareness course?

If you are caught speeding, there are only certain instances where you are eligible for this course, which are as follows:

  • You have to be within a particular range to be eligible. Generally, this is between the speed limit + 10% + 2mph, and the speed limit + 10% + 9mph. This means if you were in a thirty zone, you would be eligible if you were caught doing between 35 and 42 mph.
  • A second condition is that you can’t have attended a speed awareness course in the last three years.

What is covered in the speed awareness course?

The principal purpose of the speed awareness course is to educate you on the dangers of speeding, but also to show you the benefits of driving economically. For example, they show you how if driving at 35 mph you will still be at 18mph in the time you would have stopped if you had initially been driving at 30mph. This could be the difference between a potentially fatal injury to a pedestrian or not. At the course, they will go into details about how driving at a slower speed is more economical and can save you money. They will also tell you how speeding will often not get you anywhere faster than driving at the speed limit would have because of congestion.

Why should I go on a speed awareness course?

The actual fine you get when caught speeding is often less than if you went to the course, and less time-consuming of course. However, the fixed penalty will come with three points on your driver’s license. These points will stay with you for a minimum of 4 years and can affect your car insurance premiums. Furthermore, if you add up to 12 points over three years your driver’s license will be revoked.

Advantages of a speed awareness course

  • Avoid three points and generally means you'll still be able to get cheap car insurance policies
  • Could even save you money in terms of motoring fuel costs, as they show you how it pays to drive slowly
  • No driving conviction on your record

How will it affect my car insurance premiums?

Luckily, because you won’t have technically got a driving conviction, you do not have to disclose this to your insurer unless they ask you specifically. If they have not requested, it cannot be used against you in terms of your premiums. Although unusual, if you’re asked to declare it then you might be at risk of higher premiums. This is because you’ve shown that you’re willing to drive over the speed limit.

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