Have you been asked to attend an invite-only speed awareness course?

An in-person or online speed awareness course can help to refresh your knowledge of the dangers of speeding.

Read on and find out what a speed awareness course is, and what you can expect when you attend one.

 

What is a Speed Awareness Course?

In the UK, the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) gives a motorist caught committing a ‘low level’ traffic offence the chance to attend a re-education course.

Offered by regional police forces, a speed awareness course may be offered to a motorist who has been caught speeding.

The course is designed for low-end speeders – specifically people that the police believe would benefit from learning about the impact their speeding has on others on the road.

An individual may wish to attend a speed awareness course as an alternative to paying a fine or receiving penalty points on their licence.

A speed awareness course is an educational workshop that can help to re-educate drivers that have been caught speeding.

Though paying for the course can be like that of a fine, it means you can avoid incurring penalty points.

If you receive 12 or more penalty points within 3 years – or 6 points within the first 2 years of driving – then you could be disqualified.

Originally introduced in 1996, most importantly, a speed awareness course is a theory test refresher.

As such, many UK drivers may never have learned the content before passing their driving test.

 

What Can I Expect From a Speed Awareness Course?

A speed awareness course is a retraining course designed to help you comply with Road Traffic Legislation.

Each session is led by an instructor, who will instigate honest discussions about safe driving.

On a speed awareness course, you will discuss:

  • The Highway Code
  • Braking distances
  • Road signs
  • Other best driving practices

During a speed awareness course, you could be asked to discuss personal experiences or spot hazards on a dashcam journey.

The course could cover speeding in built-up areas or motorways, as well as single and dual carriageways.

In addition, you will likely learn:

  • How to identify speed limits
  • The dangers of speeding
  • How to avoid speeding

You may be shown graphic images of high-speed crashes, which could be upsetting to look at.

These images are included to deter drivers from speeding again in the future.

A speed awareness course may be less severe than a speeding fine, but you will still have to demonstrate a certain amount of progress.

If you fail to do so, your instructor can refer your case back to the police.

This can result in you facing a fine and extra penalty points on your licence.

 

What Happens on an Online Speed Awareness Course?

Both in-person and online speed awareness courses cover the same topics, so you will get the same content and knowledge regardless of which type you attend.

You will be sent a link and instructions on how to join the session ahead of the class and will need a stable internet connection and a built-in camera or webcam to attend an online session. If this may cause you problems during the online speed awarness course, we'd advise speaking to your provider in advance and asking if you can attend an in-person course.

If there are any problems on the day, you must make contact with your course provider as soon as possible as non-attendance can result in the original speeding penalties being imposed.

At an online speed awareness course, you can expect to learn about important topics like the consequences of speeding and the importance of driving responsibly - as you would with an in-person session.

You may similarly be asked to discuss personal experiences about exceeding the speed limit in an online speed awareness session.

You will still need to attend the classes and engage in the discussion throughout the course. You are welcome to take notes during the session if you want to refer back to the course content in future.

 

Speed Awareness Course Infographic

 

How Can I Demonstrate Improvement?

By the end of the course, you should be able to demonstrate your knowledge of the following areas:

  • The consequences of speeding
  • Personal responsibility on the roads
  • The impact of your behaviour on others
  • The Highway Code

If your instructor feels that you have positively changed your attitude towards speeding – and made enough progress in these areas – they will tell the police to drop the speeding charge.

 

ruined silver car with crumpled bonnet and shattered windscreen as a result of car accident

 A speed awareness course will use images like this one to emphasise the impact of excess speed and aim to change your attitude towards it.

 

Will I Be Offered a Speed Awareness Course?

A speed awareness course may be offered to you instead of a penalty in the event that:

  • You are caught speeding up to 10% above the limit
  • You haven’t completed a speed awareness course in the last three years

Though you may be eligible to attend a speed awareness course if you meet the criteria, the course is not compulsory.

Your local police department may choose not to offer you the course.

You may instead have to pay a fine and incur the penalty points on your licence.

You may not be eligible for a speed awareness course if you:

  • Are too far over the speeding limit
  • Attended another course in the last 3 years
  • Your local police don’t offer these courses

If you are eligible for a speed awareness course, your Notice of Intended Prosecution (the document informing you of a speeding offence) will give you the options, and all the relevant information.

You must fill out the form within the allocated time limit to inform the police if you intend to accept the offer.

This will halt the prosecution charges until after your speed awareness course.

Your eligibility depends on you being caught between the following speeds:

Speed Limit

Minimum Eligible Speed

Maximum Eligible Speed

30 mph

35 mph

42 mph

40 mph

46 mph

53 mph

50 mph

57 mph

64 mph

60 mph

68 mph

75 mph

70 mph

79 mph

86 mph

Remember, even 1mph over the limit breaks the law - don't take the risk.

 

How Long Is a Speed Awareness Course?

An in-person speed awareness course will take between 4 and 5 hours, with a break in the middle.

Courses are available during the day, evening and at weekends.

Food will not be provided, so remember to bring your own if you want something to eat during the break.

There can be up to 24 motorists at a time at an in-person speed awareness course session.

 

How Long Is an Online Speed Awareness Course?

A virtual speed awareness course is usually 2 hours and 30 minutes long, with a 10-minute break.

 

How Do I Book The Course?

There are plenty of UK speed awareness course providers that you can book with, including DriveTech, UKROEd and the TTC Group.

You can book a speed awareness course either online or over the phone.

To book the course, you will need:

  • Your police reference number and PIN
  • Your debit/credit card to pay

You can find your police reference number and PIN on your police course offer letter.

Select a date and time that suits you and then pay the relevant fee.

Once you have booked your speed awareness course, make sure that you arrive on time and bring photo ID with you to prove your identity. You will also need to provide your driving licence during the booking process.

Please note that you must provide 2 forms of ID, and your passport and driving licence are suitable forms of photo ID.

If you don’t do this, or otherwise turn up late or leave before the course has finished, you may be excluded from the session.

The centre will then refer your case back to the police.

 

How Much Is a Speed Awareness Course?

An in-person or online speed awareness course costs roughly £100 to £150, though each police force sets their own price.

Your eligibility letter will note the exact price.

You may also find the cost of speed awareness courses near you on your local police force’s website.

Remember, the cost of the speed awareness course takes into account more than money.

Whilst a fine is comparable to the cost of a speed awareness course, know that any speeding offence will add 3 penalty points to your licence.

Once you have 12 penalty points on your licence, you will face disqualification.

If you have been driving for less than 2 years, then you should know that just 6 points equals a disqualification.

The course may be a better option for you, as you will avoid getting penalty points on your licence, which could in turn cause an increase in your car insurance premium.

Not to mention that the course can help you to become a safer driver.

 

How Much Is a Speeding Fine?

In April 2017, the structure of speeding fines changed.

While the standard Fixed Penalty Notice is still a £100 fine and 3 penalty points, there are now more severe penalties for serious offences or repeat offenders. 

You can be summoned to a magistrates court and, if found guilty, forced to pay a larger fine.

This equates to a percentage of your weekly wage and increases with the severity of your offence. 

The maximum UK speeding fine is £1,000.

In 2021, that increased to £2,500 for motorway speeding. 

 

Legal Speed Limit (MPH)

Band A Recorded Speed (MPH)

Band B Recorded Speed (MPH)

Band C Recorded Speed (MPH)

20

21-30

31-40

41+

30

31-40

41-50

51+

40

41-55

56-65

66+

50

51-65

66-75

76+

60

61-80

81-90

91+

70

71-90

91-100

101+

 

3 points on your licence

4-6 points on your licence OR 7-28 days disqualification

6 points on your licence OR 7-56 days disqualification

 

Fined 50% of relevant weekly income

Fined 100% of relevant weekly income

Fined 150% of relevant weekly income

Magistrates have 25% leeway for imposing fines.

This means mitigating circumstances might reduce your fine to 25% - but you could also end up paying 175% in Band C!

 

Can I Fail The Course?

A speed awareness course does not have a test, meaning you can neither pass nor fail.

However, you must make sure that you attend the sessions promptly and complete all necessary paperwork.

You should also come prepared to contribute during the session discussion.

If you seem disengaged or distracted - or don't complete certain aspects of the session - then this could void your attendance.

Your course provider may inform the police who could issue you with a fine or penalty points on your licence.

 

How Often Can You Do a Speed Awareness Course?

Once you have attended a speed awareness course, you will not be allowed to attend another one for 3 years.

 

Why Was I Not Offered a Speed Awareness Course?

It is up to your local police department to decide whether to offer you the speed awareness course.

If you have already taken one in the last 3 years – or were well above the speed limits stated by the police – you won’t be offered a speed awareness course.

 

Do I Have to Attend a Speed Awareness Course?

Attending a speed awareness course is not compulsory.

If you have been offered the speed awareness course, you can choose to do one of the following:

  • Book and attend the course
  • Accept the fixed penalty, pay a fine and receive penalty points
  • Appeal the offence and attend a court hearing

You will receive a letter from the police within 14 days of being caught speeding, which can tell you what your options are.

 

speed camera set up by roadside to catch speeding drivers

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

 

FAQs

How Many People Attend Each Session?

What Happens If I Don’t Attend a Session?

How Many Speed Awareness Courses Can I Do?

Do You Have to Declare a Speed Awareness Course to Your Insurance Provider?