Did you know that the minimum penalty for speeding in the UK is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points on your licence? If you are found to have driven above the speed limit, then you could also be asked to participate in a speed awareness course. 

A speed awareness course is a policing initiative designed to clamp down on speeding in the UK. If you have broken the speed limit, then a speed awareness course can help you improve your safety skills. 

In a recent survey, the RAC found that the number of people admitting to exceeding the speed limit on country roads, motorways and high-speed dual carriageways has increased significantly. 

That’s why speed awareness courses are so important, with 1.39 million drivers in the UK attending a speed awareness course in 2021. 

If you want to find out whether you are eligible for one of these courses, what to expect from an speed awareness course, or how much a speed awareness course costs, then this is the article for you.


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. 

A speed awareness course is a retraining course designed to help such an individual comply with Road Traffic Legislation. Each session is led by an instructor, who will instigate honest discussions about safe driving. 

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. 

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. 

On a speed awareness course, you will discuss:

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

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


Speed Awareness Course Infographic


What Can I Expect From a Speed Awareness Course?

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 on 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

Be aware that you could be shown graphic images of high-speed crashes, which could be upsetting to look at. As you can probably imagine, these images are included to deter drivers from speeding in the future. 

A speed awareness course is less severe than a speeding fine, but you do still have to demonstrate a certain degree of progress. If you fail to do so, then your instructor can refer your case back to the police. This can result in a fine and extra penalty points on your licence. 


How Can I Demonstrate Improvement?

By the end of the course, you should be able to demonstrate what you have learned in terms of:

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

If your instructor feels that you have positively changed your attitude towards speeding and made a significant amount of progress in these areas, then 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

The consequences of speeding can be highly damaging. 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.


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. Just remember that food will not be provided, so you will need to bring your own if you would like to eat something during the break.


Can I Fail The Course?

Crucially, a speed awareness course does not have a test, so you can neither pass nor fail the course.

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.


What Happens During an Online Speed Awareness Course?

As with in-person classes, an online speed awareness course will not require that you take a test. However, you will still need to attend the classes, engage in the discussion and be willing to contribute throughout the course. 

An online speed awareness course will usually have around 9 participants per course. You can expect to learn the same content as you would in the in-person sessions.

A virtual speed awareness course is usually 2 hours and 30 minutes long, with a 10 minute break. You will be sent a link and instructions on how to join the session ahead of the class. You will need a stable internet connection and a built-in camera or webcam to attend. 


How Much Is a Speed Awareness Course?

A speed awareness course can cost roughly £100, though each police force will set their own price. 

Your eligibility letter will include 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, then 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)


























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!


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

You may be eligible to attend a speed awareness course if you meet this criteria, but you should know that 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 points on your licence. You may not be eligible for a speed awareness course if:

  • You are too far over the speeding limit
  • You’ve attended another speed awareness course in the last 3 years
  • Your local police force does not offer speed awareness 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 of 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.


Do I Have to Attend a Speed Awareness Course?

A speed awareness course is not compulsory. If you have been offered a speed awareness course, you can choose to do one of the following:

  • Book and attend the speed awareness course
  • Accept the fixed penalty, paying a fine and incurring points on your licence 
  • 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.


How Do I Book The Course?

You can book a speed awareness course through all main providers - either online or over the phone. In order to book a speed awareness course, you will need:

  • Your police reference number and PIN - you can find this on your police course offer letter
  • Your debit/credit card in order to pay

Select a date and time that suits you, and pay the relevant fee. Once your speed awareness course is booked, make sure that you arrive on time and bring some form of photo ID - such as your passport or driving licence - with you to prove your identity. 

You will need to provide 2 forms of ID. If you do not do so, or otherwise turn up late or leave before the course finishes, then you can be excluded from the session. The centre will then refer your case back to the police.


speed camera set up by roadside to catch speeding drivers

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash



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?


Now that you have finished reading this article, you should know a lot more about attending a speed awareness course in the UK.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article, and are inspired to take further care to become a better driver and drive safely.