Will I get a speed awareness course instead of points?


If you've been caught speeding on the UK's roads, you could be offered a place on a speed awareness course depending on the circumstances of your offence. Here motoring journalist and expert Pete Barden looks at information including how much they cost, who will and won't be given the opportunity to attend one - and if you'll still get penalty points on your licence if you do.

speedometer approaching 70mph with a speed camera ready to flash for a speeding ticketIf you have been caught speeding, will you be offered the chance to avoid penalty points with a speed awareness course?  

A Freedom of Information request by insurance comparison site Confused, revealed 2.5 million drivers were caught speeding in 2019 - totting-up fines of at least £250m.
Many of these drivers will receive penalty points on their driving licence and be slapped with big fines - or even find themselves disqualified - but some will be offered the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course.
Here we explain the courses, by finding out what they entail, who might be offered one and what the advantages of attending one might be.

Will I get offered a speed awareness course?

Police will usually look to offer a course - and prevent a driver being prosecuted and fined - if it is clear that the offence was a genuine lapse of concentration or error of judgement. 
If drivers caught speeding have already been on a speed awareness course, they will not be offered or permitted to attend a subsequent course within three years. Any speeding conviction in this period will be dealt with by way of a fine and penalty points on their driving licence. 

Are speed awareness courses online?

The scrapping of Covid-related restrictions by the UK government has seen venues re-open for physical courses, but the majority of speed awareness courses will remain in a virtual online format for the foreseeable future. The online courses can be carried out over video calling from your own home.
If you do not have access to online facilities, you will be able to book a course in a physical classroom, so make sure you book a centre that is close to your home location. 
If you already had one booked, or have been offered one by the police, then book your virtual course here.

Is it just speeding offences that awareness courses cover?

No, there are several courses covering a variety of motoring offences covering everything from speeding – with separate parts for motorway and 20mph zone offences – to training  for drivers involved in collisions or who've not been wearing a seatbelt. 

Which driving awareness course has most 'users’?

Of the 1.4 million drivers taking a training courses in 2017, over 1 million were related to speeding offences, followed by around 100,000 drivers taking the ‘What’s Driving Us’ course - this which covers offences, such as drivers using a mobile phone at the wheel.

Can I ask for a speed awareness course instead of penalty points on my licence?

No. The police will identify the 'offenders' who will be offered the opportunity to attend a course - not the other way around. There are various criteria around who will get offered a speed awareness course - meaning not everyone can expect to be offered one. 

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What happens on speed awareness courses?

The courses allows low-level speeding offenders take an educational course, alerting them to the dangers and possible outcomes of speeding.
Motorists on the course will be encouraged to think about why they were breaking the speed limit and receive advice on how to avoid it happening again.

Does the speed awareness course have a practical session?

No. Even before the coronavirus pandemic closed classroom-based sessions, speed awareness courses have no practical element. All sessions are based in a virtual setting at the moment and in the classroom when Covid-19 restrictions allow. 

How long will it take to complete a speed awareness course?

Completing the course can take up to four hours. But this may vary and details will be provided ahead of the course commencing.

Will I need to take the speed awareness course where the offence was committed?

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, it was unlikely that offenders would be required to take their speed awareness course in the same area the offence was committed. However, if forces use an alternative to the national provider, NDRS, the driver may have to return to the original area.
Currently, many classes are being held 'virtually', so there is no requirement for drivers to leave home to complete their speed awareness course.

Will I get penalty points on my licence if I take a speed awareness course?

No. If you are certified as completing the speed awareness course, you will not have penalty points added to your driving licence.  

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What if I am caught speeding again?

Any speeding offence committed within three years of the previous offence, will typically see the driver face prosecution and receive a minimum of three penalty points. 
Drivers will not be given the chance of taking a second speed awareness course within this three-year period.

Speed awareness course cost?

The following list is guidance as to how much a National Speeding Awareness Course (NSAC) costs at your local police force area. The pricing is for guidance only, and the type of course you are offered may differ. 

Force Area Course Provider Course Fee Booking Telephone
AVON AND SOMERSET TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
BEDFORDSHIRE DriveTech £89.00 0344 264 6323
CAMBRIDGESHIRE DriveTech £89.00 0344 264 6323
CHESHIRE Cheshire £85.00 01606 363 700
CLEVELAND Hartlepool Borough Council £73.00 01429 523 803
CUMBRIA TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
DERBYSHIRE DriveTech £89.00 0344 264 6323
DEVON AND CORNWALL TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
DURHAM Hartlepool Borough Council £73.00 01429 523 803
DYFED-POWYS Dyfed-Powys £92.00 01267 226 479
ESSEX Safer Essex Roads Partnership £90.00 01277 636 675
GLOUCESTERSHIRE Driver Education Gloucestershire £85.00 01452 754 562
GWENT TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
HAMPSHIRE Hampshire Police £85.00 0238 047 8700
HERTFORDSHIRE Hertfordshire County Council £90.00 0300 123 4035
HUMBERSIDE Safer Roads Humber £95.00 01482 399 065
KENT COUNTY Kent County Council £92.00 03000 418282
LANCASHIRE Lancashire £87.00 01772 410 950
LEICESTERSHIRE Leicestershire County Council £91.00 0116 305 8787
LINCOLNSHIRE Lincolnshire County Council £90.00 01522 782 068
LONDON DriveTech £91.00 0344 264 6323
MANCHESTER DriveSafe £90.00 0300 123 1518
MERSEYSIDE DriveTech £79.00 0344 264 6323
NORFOLK Norfolk County Council £90.00 01603 638 136
NORTH WALES TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
NORTH YORKSHIRE TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
NORTHERN IRELAND DriveTech £84.00 0344 264 6323
NORTHUMBRIA DriveTech £89.00 0344 264 6323
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE DriveTech £89.00 0344 264 6323
SOUTH WALES TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
SOUTH YORKSHIRE TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
STAFFORDSHIRE Staffordshire County Council £85.00 0300 111 8012
SUFFOLK Suffolk County Council £90.00 0345 606 6043
SURREY DriveTech £89.00 0344 264 6323
SUSSEX West Sussex County Council £90.00 0330 222 8999
THAMES VALLEY DriveTech £89.00 0344 264 6323
WARWICKSHIRE Warwickshire County Council £83.00 01926 412 990
WEST MERCIA TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
WEST MIDLANDS TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
WEST YORKSHIRE TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805
WILTSHIRE TTC £88.00 0330 024 1805

Do I need to tell my insurance company I've taken a speed awareness course?

A speed awareness course does not amount to a conviction, so should not be considered as one by insurance companies.
The police will not share data of drivers taking speed awareness courses with insurers.
When renewing or applying for insurance, drivers were previously required to tell insurers about anything that ‘might’ be relevant to their application.
However, the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012, adjusted this to mean most drivers need only supply information that is directly requested.
This means, drivers will not need to disclose the fact they've attended a speed awareness course unless directly asked by the insurance company. 

Can you fail a speed awareness course?

There is no pass or fail - the only requirement is that it must be completed.

Does taking the course count as a motoring conviction?

No. Taking the course halts legal proceedings.

Can points for the original offence be added to my licence if I am caught speeding again?


Where can you book your place on a speed awareness course?

If you’ve been offered a place, you can book your speed awareness course here.  


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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (thesun.co.uk), New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? (Whatcar.com) Stuff Magazine (Stuff.tv), Fastcar Magazine (Fastcar.co.uk), Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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