If you are a driver caught speeding, you may need to take a speed awareness course or risk a hefty fine.
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Not everyone can take a speed awareness course
A national speed awareness course is only offered to those caught low-level speeding. The course aims to prevent drivers from receiving speeding tickets again. Not everyone can attend – repeat offenders or those caught speeding at a higher level may receive points on their licence.
Why should I go on a speed awareness course?
Drivers caught speeding may be given a fixed penalty notice, which could result in a fine, and they may have to accept points on their licence.
Points on your licence can mean increased insurance fees
And if you get to 12 points, you could even lose your licence or get a court summons if you are driving extremely dangerously.
These points can stay with you for up to 11 years. If you want to remain point free taking a speed awareness course can really help.
Risk a fine and penalty points
You can choose whether to go on the course and pay your speeding ticket fine. But not taking a national speed awareness course means you could receive points on your licence, which may increase the cost of your car insurance.
Going on the course may mean you are less likely to commit another speeding offence, and you will become a safer driver. The speeding awareness course might also help your job if you reply on driving or commuting to work by car.
Who is eligible for a speed awareness course?
You might be offered the chance to attend the national speed awareness course if your speed is within certain limits. A local course provider will detail how to attend and the costs involved. These details are sent with your fixed penalty notice sent by your local police force.
To attend a speed awareness course, there is usually a tolerance level for how fast you were driving – so if you were caught driving up to 42 mph in a 30 mph area – but each district varies slightly.
You can’t go on a course if you have been caught speeding within three years of already taking the course. Or if you were driving over the maximum threshold – eg caught speeding at 70 mph in a 40 mph zone. You can also go on an online speed awareness course.
What happens at a speed awareness course?
If this is your first speeding offence, you may wonder what happens at a speed awareness course.
You can now choose to take a virtual course online or take part in the course with other people. Either way, the course fee will be around £100 depending on where you live.
The course itself should last about four hours, though this may vary slightly depending on where you are. There usually are around 20 other people on the course.
You need to bring your driving licence along with you
If you don’t have it, you’ll have to show two forms of ID. If you don’t bring any ID with you, you won’t be allowed to attend a speed awareness course.
What should I expect from a speed awareness course?
The half-day course will run through road and traffic safety. The course will look at safety behind the wheel and put your focus on road safety. You’ll also participate in group discussions about distractions on the road, stopping distances and driver safety.
It is worth familiarising yourself with speed limits when driving and understanding how to use cruise control when out on high-speed roads to help maintain a constant speed.
The course is run in a classroom-style setting and is often available on weekdays, weekends or evenings. You will be given the choice of booking an online virtual course.
There’s no actual test or exam
But you’ll get a fail if you are obviously not taking an interest or mucking around. The aim of you attending the course is to be more aware of driving speeds and not re-offend.
Who runs speed awareness courses?
The courses are usually run by organisations on behalf of the police, like NDORS (National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme).
Your local authorities will send you details of speed awareness courses. Drivers caught breaking the speed limit are encouraged to attend to help prevent further offences. You don’t do any driving on the course or take any tests. You simply need to show up and take part.
Can I take a speed awareness course online?
Yes, you can take the course online. It takes around four hours. You’ll need good internet access and allocate the time to take the course in one sitting.
The course will cover the same content for first-time offenders, such as improving awareness of road signs and possible consequences of speeding and stopping distances to prevent further speeding offences.
Should I tell my car insurance provider about a speed awareness course?
You don’t have to tell your insurance company about your speeding fine, although you may wish to. Getting a speeding conviction still means you have broken the Road Traffic Act.
Car insurance costs
However, your car insurance quotes may go up since your speeding offences. If your insurance company asks you about speeding convictions, you must answer truthfully or risk invalidating your policy. Taking a speeding course will prevent you from getting three points on your licence and may help prevent an increase in insurance costs.
How do I book a speed awareness course?
You’ll receive a letter and details of companies providing courses in your local area. You will be given details of where and how to book and will be given the costs involved.
If you choose to take the speed awareness course, you’ll need to take it within a 12 weeks time limit. You don’t have to take the course, but instead, pay a fine and receive penalty points on your licence.