New report reveals how well speed awareness courses work

Speed

Be on the wrong end of one of these you could end up on a speed awareness course (Picture iStock/south_agency)

Are you an experienced driver who thinks they’re unlikely to be caught speeding? Or have you already been nicked exceeding the speed limit and don’t know whether to choose a speed awareness course? The most exhaustive study yet on the courses offered to drivers caught speeding reveals the answers.

The report commissioned by the government looks at the increasingly popular National Speed Awareness Courses (NSAC). It assesses who is offered the courses, who accepts, and what impact the courses have on their driving. Read on to find out if you fit the profile for drivers who take speed awareness courses.

What are speed awareness courses?

When drivers are caught speeding by a few mph, an increasing number of police forces offer the choice of NSAC. These are instead of the now traditional three points and a fine. Drivers pay to attend the courses but don’t then get points on their licence. Read more about speed awareness courses here.

How well do speed awareness courses work?

Let’s first assume that the success of these courses is judged by re-offending rates of attendees. If that’s the case, they are an overwhelming success. The report concludes: “Participation in the National Speed Awareness Course has a larger effect in reducing speed reoffending than the penalty points and fine associated with Fixed Penalty Notices.”

Drivers are between 12 and 23 per cent LESS likely to speed within six months of taking a course compared to if they choose the points and fine. And those who participate in a course have a significantly lower collision rate afterwards than those who take the points.

How many take speed awareness courses?

Speed

Numbers on speed awareness courses have tripled in the last six years (Pictures iStock/esp_imaging)

Participation has tripled between 2010 and 2016 as more police forces have been offering the courses. There were 6.6 million individual attendances between 2010 and 2016.

Who takes speed awareness courses?

If you’re an experienced driver and you’ve never been nicked for speeding, the likelihood is you could sooner or later end up taking one of these courses. An astonishing 96 per cent of course attendees had zero ‘live’ points on their licence. Three per cent had three points and the remaining 1 per cent had six points.

According to a previous report nearly two thirds of drivers (62 per cent) taking NSAC were male. On average they were 47-years old and had held a driving licence for 24.6 years. A third of course takers (37 per cent) had held their licence for 31 years or more. Just more than half (54 per cent) of participants were detected at between 6 and 8 mph over the speed limit.

Who doesn’t take a speed awareness course

The government’s data revealed that drivers who decline the course are more than twice as likely to have previous motoring convictions. It claims this indicates a greater risk-taking attitude towards driving. Drivers who decline the courses are also liable to have held their licence for longer than attendees.

However, the report also suggests the longer a driver has held their licence, the more effective a speed awareness course is. For every year a participant has held a licence there will be a 0.1 per cent reduction in the likelihood of them reoffending.

3 comments on “New report reveals how well speed awareness courses work

  1. Eric Hayman June 12, 2018 11:46 am

    “If you’re an experienced driver and you’ve never been nicked for speeding, the likelihood is you could sooner or later end up taking one of these courses. An astonishing 96 per cent of course attendees had zero ‘live’ points on their licence. Three per cent had three points and the remaining 1 per cent had six points.”

    Where is the logic in saying experienced drivers who have never been caught speeding are “sooner or later” likely to take a speed awareness course? One has to be breaking a speed limit before being caught speeding. And what is “astonishing” that almost all of the attenders of such courses have no live points on their licences? Is someone trying to prove something that is not true?

  2. Naina Hutley June 13, 2018 8:16 am

    I recently opted to take the coursse1. It was excellent and made me aware of how easy it is to drift into a speed just slightly over the limit

  3. Eric Hayman June 13, 2018 8:33 am

    Vehicle manufacturers could have built in head-up speed displays a decade or more ago – but have chosen not to – while providing frivolous things such as heated motor adjusted seats and electronic parking brakes. If all drivers had their speed displayed on the windscreen in front of them at all times, then I am sure accidental breaking of speed limits would be greatly reduced.

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