What is a Speed Awareness Course?

Last updated by mustard.co.uk on October 30th, 2018

Speed awareness courses are offered to eligible drivers if they’ve been caught breaking the speed limit.

They’re an option for anyone who is eligible and according to 2015 data, one in three eligible motorists opted to take a speed awareness course rather than the other options of:

– A fixed penalty fine and points on your driving licence
– Contesting the penalty in court

Who is eligible for a speed awareness course?

Not everyone who has been caught speeding will be offered the option to take a speed awareness course.

To qualify for a speed awareness course:

1. You must not have been convicted of a speed offence in the last three years

2. You were caught speeding between 10 per cent plus 2mph and 10 per cent plus 9mph over the speed limit

So if you’re in a 30mph zone and travelling between 35mph and 42mph you should be offered a speed awareness course.

Travel at 43mph or over in a 30mph zone and you will not receive a speed awareness course offer, you’re likely to be slapped with a penalty fine, points on your licence and an appearance in court.

Why opt for a speed awareness course?

One in three motorists opted for a speed awareness course in 2015 rather than the other options on offer, despite the fact you have to pay to complete it.

Why? Well it’s usually because of the penalty points and the impact they have on your car insurance.

If you opt for a speed awareness course you’ll have to pay a course fee of around £100. That might be more than the fine you’re offered but it means you will not receive any penalty points on your licence.

How long do penalty points stay on your driving licence?

Penalty points stay on your driving licence for between four and 11 years, depending on the severity of the offence.

Do penalty points increase the cost of your car insurance?

Penalty points usually increase the cost of your insurance premium but the amount it increases really depends on the severity of the offence.

Does a speed awareness course increase the cost of your insurance?

Generally, speed awareness courses do not increase the cost of your car insurance because most insurers will not be aware you have completed one.

If your insurer asks you directly if you have attended a speed awareness course then you must tell them if you have.

In this case your insurer may use this as a factor when calculating your car insurance premium and the cost of your policy could rise however unless you’re asked directly, you do not have to tell them.

Is a speed awareness course a conviction or speeding offence?

The simple answer is that it is neither. You have not been prosecuted and therefore have not been convicted of a speeding offence.

So if you’re asked whether or not you have any speeding offences or convictions on your licence you can say no.

How long does a speed awareness course take?

Speed awareness courses usually last around four hours.

What happens on a speed awareness course?

The speed awareness course is an educational, classroom-based session that aims to re-educate motorists on the impact speeding can have, as well as a refresher on the Highway Code.

Each course will vary slightly depending on the course leader but there will never be a test at the end of it and the police will not be involved in the tuition.

Can you fail a speed awareness course?

There is no test or exam associated with a speed awareness course so it’s almost impossible to fail.

You can fail if you:

– Fail to attend – if you don’t bring approved ID you will not be allowed to participate and it will be classed as a failure to attend
– Do not fully participate in the course

Who conducts speed awareness courses?

As mentioned, speed awareness courses are not run by the police and are instead run by independent organisations, differing from region to region.

They work alongside local police forces and the course itself originates from the old National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme.

Each course provider is regulated by the National Association of Driver Intervention Providers and each is in charge of the fees they charge.

What if I cannot attend my speed awareness course?

If you cannot attend your course then you must let the course administrator know as soon as possible.

You will have to pay a rebooking fee unless there are suitable circumstances including:

– Illness when there is a medical certificate or letter confirming illness
– Notification of a hospital appointment
– Bereavement

If you turn up late, you may not be allowed to take part in the course and your speed awareness course offer will revert to a fixed penalty notice or conditional offer.

What is a speed awareness course conditional offer?

A conditional offer gives you the choice between a speed awareness course, a fixed penalty fine and points on your driving licence or the opportunity to contest the penalty in court.

How do I get on a speed awareness course?

If you are offered a speed awareness course you will receive a Speed Awareness Offer. You need to respond to this within 14 days of receiving it otherwise you will get a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Related articles you may find useful

Speeding fines explained
Driving offence codes explained
Van speed limits explained
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