Do speed awareness courses work? Unfortunately, it turns out no-one knows for sure.
In a recent parliamentary statement, transport minister Andrew Jones was forced to concede that the government holds “no records of how many participants have reoffended.”
The courses have been offered to drivers caught breaking the speed limit for a number of years now.
Motorists pay to complete a course, instead of being fined and issued with penalty points. Many opt for half a day in a grim-looking council building with flickering strip lighting because attracting points tends also to attract higher car insurance premiums.
But questions are now starting to be asked about whether the educational route is working.
Official figures show that in 2012, 963,627 people took part in a ‘diversionary’ course.
In 2016 this number had risen significantly, by more than 44% to 1,390,880.
But there’s no explanation about why that’s happened. Are more of us offending? Is there more reoffending? Are the police – which apparently retains a proportion of the £100 course fee – just using it as a money-spinner?
The government is not taking any chances. It tabled a Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill last month, which among many other things, also attempts to set speed awareness on a statutory footing.
At the moment, drivers cannot retake a course within three years of offending but the Bill could be a way of banning motorists from repeating the training at all – or for a lengthy period at least.
As well as the Bill, and not before time, a review has been commissioned to check whether or not these courses are doing anyone any good, other than saving money on insurance.
According to Jones: “The Department for Transport, in conjunction with the Road Safety Trust, has commissioned an evaluation of the NDORS speed awareness course, which is the most commonly awarded diversionary course. This evaluation will look at a number of aspects of the speed awareness course, including the impact of the courses on reoffending rates.”
If you have committed a speeding offence or any other motoring offence contact our specialist motoring solicitors for advice on 0800 046 3066