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Speed Awareness Course

Author: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 23 February 2015 | commentsComment
National Speed Awareness Scheme Speeding

The National Speed Awareness Scheme is an innovative scheme that has been put in place by police forces across the UK to allow motorists caught speeding to complete a workshop rather than be issued with three penalty points and a £60 fine.

Each force appoints a member of the ANDISP (Association of National Driver Improvement Course Providers) to oversee and deliver the courses in their particular area. ANDISP has been established to make sure that such courses have a quality standard and are consistent in their teachings. The format and content of courses may vary from area to area but all have to meet stringent requirements so that they achieve their objective of ensuring the driver understands the dangers of speeding and does not speed in the future.

Interactive Speed Awareness Course Checker

If you think you've been caught speeding recently and want to see whether a Speed Awareness Course might be offered to you as an alternative to penalty points, try our interactive Speed Awareness Course checker:

Who Can go on the Course?

The National Speed Awareness Scheme is offered to a number of offending motorists after they have been Caught Speeding. The decision over whether to offer the course to you, is at the discretion of each police force.

example of a letter offering a Speed Awareness Course

Usually the drivers eligible will be those who have exceeded the legal limit but not by a huge amount and each individual police force will decide what their margins are. Approximately two thirds of drivers regularly exceed the urban 30mph limit, a third of them travelling faster than 35mph. Where a pedestrian might sustain survivable injuries if hit by a car at 30mph or below, these are more likely to change to fatal injuries when a pedestrian is struck by a car at 35mph. People caught speeding in the high risk 20 mph zones are very unlikely to be offered a place on a speed awareness course.

If you are invited to attend such a course, you will be given a specific date, time and location and you will need to accept the offer, or decline and take the fine and the Points On Your Licence instead.

What if I Accept But I am Late or Can’t Make it on the Day Specified?

Please make sure that you leave in plenty of time and try to arrive early on the day of your course. If you are late, you will not be allowed to join the class and will forfeit your place. If you cannot attend due to illness, you will need to let the course organisers know at the first opportunity (there will be a contact number on your offer letter) and you will need to provide a doctor's note as evidence. Your case will be reviewed by the police before they come to a decision on whether you will be offered another place or if the offer will be withdrawn.

Do I Have to Pay?

Yes. The course fees are usually between £60 and £100 (depending on which course provider you use) which you pay to the course provider direct – a similar price to paying the fine, although of course, avoiding penalty points can keep your insurance premiums down and save you money in the long run.

What Does the Course Cover?

The idea behind the course is the belief that if a person's attitude and behaviour can be changed, then this is more likely to prevent them from re-offending than simply paying a fine and receiving points on their licence. The course objectives will cover things like:

  • Why the person was speeding
  • To help them understand the consequences of speeding - and that those consequences are the driver's sole responsibility
  • To help them to learn and identify different speed limits and the areas they are likely to apply
  • To ensure they can identify hazards, and how road speed should be altered to accommodate them

How Long Does it Last?

In most cases, the course will be between 4 and 5 hours long and will vary, though it will usually consist of a combination of the following:

  • Classroom based theory training
  • In-car practical training sessions with approved driving instructors (some areas do not include this practical element of the course)
  • Workshops

Do I Have to Take My Own Vehicle?

If your course involves the practical element (which not all the courses offered do), then a training vehicle will be used. It will be provided by the training centre, will be fully insured for course attendees' use and will be a standard, modern vehicle similar to those which most people will have already driven. If your car has been adapted for a special need, then you will need to contact the centre in advance to make necessary arrangements. If you're a motorcyclist, you will be expected to take your own motorbike along.

How Often Can I go on One of These Courses?

Once you have attended a Speed Awareness Course you are not allowed to do another for a minimum of 3 years. Remember also that if you choose to take the speed awareness course instead of penalty points, you must complete the course within four months of the offence.

If I Appeal Against my Offence and am Unsuccessful, Can I Still go on the Course?

No. If you decide that you want to Appeal Against The Offence you are free to do so, but as soon as you do, the offer to attend a course will be withdrawn.

Important Things to Remember:

  • You must take your driving licence with you (if you hold a photo card licence you must bring both the card and the paper part) or you will not be allowed to take your place on the course.
  • You are not going to have to take a driving test but you will be expected to take part in discussions between the group to pass the course.
  • There will be around 15-25 people on an average driver improvement course.

What if I Accept But I am Late or Can’t Make it on the Day Specified?

Please make sure that you leave in plenty of time and try to arrive early on the day of your course. If you are late, you will not be allowed to join the class and will forfeit your place. If you cannot attend due to illness, you will need to let the course organisers know at the first opportunity (there will be a contact number on your offer letter) and you will need to provide a doctor's note as evidence. Your case will be reviewed by the police before they come to a decision on whether you will be offered another place or if the offer will be withdrawn.

Your Time, Money and Behaviour

Any expenses you incur for time you have to take off work, travel to and from the centre, or to pay for child care, will be your own responsibility - there no allowances for reimbursing expenses or facilities for child care.

Bad behaviour during the course will not be tolerated, so if you're rude, disruptive or use bad language you'll be asked to leave - and you won't get your money back. You'll forfeit your right to the speed awareness course and your case will go to court.

More Information on Appealing

If you want to appeal against the decision, this will be done through a magistrate's court and you'll need to write to the police to let them know. Details of how to do this will normally be included in your letter from the police. We have lots more information on Challenging Your Speeding Ticket on this site too.

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Leave a Comment, Ask for Advice or Share Your Story...
[Add a Comment]
Its 100GBP FPN in Surrey which makes doing the course (95GBP) a nobrainer.
Steve - 23-Feb-15 @ 9:36 AM
@Shiv. ACPO guidelines suggest that you may be considered but as always, it's at the discretion of the enforcing authority.
NoPenaltyPoints - 17-Feb-15 @ 10:11 AM
@Samjane1124 - it's at the discretion of the police, but there's a chance you could receive the points as well.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-Feb-15 @ 10:32 AM
I've been caught doing 59 in a 50 zone. I've never had any other speeding offences. Will I be eligible for the SAC?
Shiv - 14-Feb-15 @ 6:16 PM
@hound. it's unlikely as it's not yet 3 years since your last course.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Feb-15 @ 1:57 PM
@Pug. No it's unlikely that you will be offered a speed awareness course doing that speed in a 30mph zone.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Feb-15 @ 10:55 AM
I've got a speed awareness course on 23rd feb and unfortunately I think I've been caught again by a police gun. Will I have to have the three points I would have had before as well as the three points and fine this time? Really worried :(
Samjane1124 - 12-Feb-15 @ 6:31 PM
hi I did the speed awareness course in aug 2012 and ive just been caught by a manned camera on feb 2015 Will i get a chance to do the speed awareness course again?
hound - 11-Feb-15 @ 3:24 PM
hi I was caught doing 45mph in a 30mph zone would I be offered the course ?
pug - 10-Feb-15 @ 7:06 PM
@jayjay. Now that you've accepted it it's unlikely, but there's no harm in contacting the issuing authority and asking.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Feb-15 @ 2:19 PM
Caught speeding and I declined a FPN (dont know why) but now I realise ive made a mistake and would like a FPN rather than court summons as it will affect my job, how would I go about perusing a FPN before a court summons would come through
jayjay - 7-Feb-15 @ 1:26 AM
@Summer. It's cannot be offered a course for two offences. If you're lucky - you may be offered a course for the first offence and points/fine for the second - it's entirely at the discretion of the police though. Bear in mind that as a new driver, if you get points for both offences your licence will be revoked.
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-Feb-15 @ 11:26 AM
@Sels21. The SAC is offered to new drivers at the discretion of the police.
NoPenaltyPoints - 2-Feb-15 @ 2:32 PM
Been passed me test 7month,got two speeding tickets doing 58 and 59 in a 50 zone,will I be offered the speed awareness course on one off them
summer - 30-Jan-15 @ 2:30 PM
Can you do this course if you have only been driving for less than one year?
sels21 - 29-Jan-15 @ 7:11 PM
@elli. Dorset has started offering courses since this widget was created. We will try and update soon.
NoPenaltyPoints - 29-Jan-15 @ 2:10 PM
The information here is not correct. I was caught speeding in Dorset a couple of years ago and attended a speed awareness course. I was caught speeding again last week and received a letter stating that I would have been invited to a speed awareness course if I had not already attended one.
elli - 28-Jan-15 @ 12:22 AM
@kitkat. No if you were to be offered the course as an option you would be informed of this choice by the relevant enforcment authority.
NoPenaltyPoints - 26-Jan-15 @ 12:43 PM
I gave just passed ny drivers test and hot caught speeding, I did not know that I could do a speed awareness course, I paid the fine and took the points. Is there anyway I can do the course as I really don't want to have points , please any advice is welcome, thanks :-)
Kit kat - 22-Jan-15 @ 7:42 PM
@lynsaya - that's at the discretion of the relevant enforcement authority unfortunately, but we'd say it's highly unlikely you'll be offered another course.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Jan-15 @ 12:27 PM
@kimberley - you could be right, the signage in some places leaves a lot to be desired.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-Jan-15 @ 10:17 AM
I did a Speed Awareness Course about 4 years ago, but got another three points for speeding 2 years ago (therefore wasn't eligible at that point for a course)... I have now got another letter for speeding on the M62 - 64mph in the 50mph zone. They say it has to be at least 3 years since your last course to be offered another one (which it is) - do you think they will offer me one, even though I have had more points in the meantime?
lynsaya - 16-Jan-15 @ 8:47 AM
Oh agreed look out for speed signs as you drive but after speaking to a solicitor I've done as they've said I've parked my car and taken photo's of the dirty speeds signs were suppose to be able to read .Look as if they've been bought up from the titanic .So to me this says it';s not about keeping our roads safe but all about the £££££££'s
Kimberley - 14-Jan-15 @ 5:19 PM
@Sky. This seems to be a common occurrence in variable limit zones...drivers do not want to break (causing an accident or furtherbottle neck) and then get caught by a camera. The good news is up to 46mph is usually where no action will be taken.
NoPenaltyPoints - 14-Jan-15 @ 2:46 PM
@Fester - ACPO guidelines state the following in a speed limit zone of 30mph:
Fixed penalty (where a course is not appropriate) = 35mph
Speed Awareness Course where appropriate = 35pmh to 42mph (at discretion of relevant police force)
NoPenaltyPoints - 14-Jan-15 @ 2:28 PM
@kimberley - unlucky. Of course you will be kicking yourself as you probably know, you should always be looking out for road signs and speed limits as you're driving along rather than relying on sat nav.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Jan-15 @ 11:24 AM
I was driving on a variable speed limit on the motorway and it was 60mph showing on signs (that I was doing) for it then to go to 40mph. I slowed down to get to the 40mph, but hadn't made it as I hit the first white line (doing about 45mph or less) I saw a flash in the corner of my eye and not sure if it was my camera or another on the other side of the motorway. Do you think that I will get a speeding ticket for doing 45mph in a 40mph zone, as believe there is a % they will let you off and also how can I find out when my last speed awareness course was? As know if it's after 3 years since my last one, then could poss be offered again.
Sky - 12-Jan-15 @ 11:33 PM
I Live in west yorkshire dewsbury. I've just checked west yorkshire police speeding offences and penalties and criteria for speed awareness courses and one in one section it states if you are doing between 35-42 in a 30 zone speed awareness course might be offered. Is this correct can you confirm please
fester - 12-Jan-15 @ 6:55 PM
@fester. It depends on the area you live in etc. Ignorance of the road/speed signs will be no defence of the law though. Usually the threshold for a speed awareness course in a 30mph zone is 35 -42 mph.
NoPenaltyPoints - 12-Jan-15 @ 2:18 PM
@Jess, the 3 year period should run between course to conviction really.
NoPenaltyPoints - 12-Jan-15 @ 10:57 AM
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