What is a speed-awareness course?

If you’re caught speeding, you might be offered the choice of attending a speed-awareness course as an alternative to receiving penalty points and a fine.

But what exactly is a speed-awareness course, and will it affect your car-insurance premium? Here’s our simple guide to what you need to know.

 

If you’re caught speeding, you might be offered the choice of attending a speed-awareness course as an alternative to receiving penalty points and a fine.

But what exactly is a speed-awareness course, and will it affect your car-insurance premium? Here’s our simple guide to what you need to know.

 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
4
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 8 SEPTEMBER 2021

Important update regarding the COVID-19 situation 

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting many aspects of driving and using your car. To help answer any questions you might have, see our coronavirus and motoring FAQs. For the latest on coronavirus restrictions, see GOV.UK.

What is a speed-awareness course?

Speed-awareness courses aim to educate drivers about their speeding, and act as an incentive to stop them doing it again. They’re offered by some regional police forces as an alternative to adding three penalty points to your licence and a £100 fine.

The courses are not compulsory, and it’s up to each police force to decide whether to offer them or not.

Who can be offered a place on a speed-awareness course?

Not everyone is eligible to go on a speed-awareness course, and criteria vary depending on the police force. You may be eligible if:

  • you haven’t attended a speed-awareness course in the past three years
  • the speed you were caught at was within the acceptable range. This is typically between speed limit + 10% + 2mph, and speed limit + 10% + 9mph (for example, between 35-42mph in a 30mph zone)

How will I know if a speed awareness-course is an option?

If you’re stopped for speeding by the police, or are caught by a speed camera, you’ll be sent a notice of intended prosecution within 14 days. If you’re eligible to go on a course, you’ll be given three options:

  • a speed-awareness course
  • a fixed penalty notice
  • a court hearing to appeal the offence

You’ll be given a date, time and location to attend the speed-awareness course. You can choose to accept the offer or decline and take the fixed penalty instead.

Who runs speed-awareness courses?

Speed-awareness courses are managed by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) and are supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Each police force appoints a course provider regulated by the Association of National Driver Improvement Scheme Providers (ANDISP), to deliver courses in their region.

Do I have to pay for a speed-awareness course?

Yes. Prices vary between providers, but a course typically costs between £80 and £100.

What do speed-awareness courses cover?

Topics include:

  • the benefits of complying with speed limits
  • attitudes surrounding speeding
  • the consequences of speeding
  • knowledge and skills
  • personal responsibility
  • the impact of your behaviour on other road users

Do speed awareness-courses work?

In 2017, nearly 1.2 million drivers chose to attend a speed-awareness course. A government study found people who have taken the course are 23% less likely to reoffend within six months of attending, and only 21% reoffend within three years – compared to 23% for those who took points instead of the course.

Why choose a speed-awareness course?

As a speed-awareness course can cost around the same amount as a speeding fine, the main motivation for many drivers is to avoid penalty points on their licence. A speeding conviction will stay on your driving record for at least four years.

Penalty points could have an impact on your job prospects, especially if you drive for a living. For example, if you’re a delivery driver, your contract will most likely state that you need a clean driving licence.

Having penalty points on your licence is also likely to increase your car-insurance premium.

A speed-awareness course is not classed as a driving conviction and, as you’ll avoid penalty points, your licence will remain clean.

But don’t just think of it as a way of avoiding penalty points. More crucially, it’s important and useful training that could help you be a better and safer driver.

Will a speed-awareness course impact the cost of my car insurance?

It depends on the insurance provider. Some may raise your premium as they consider the fact that you were speeding a risk.

On the other hand, some insurance providers may take a positive approach to the additional education and driving skills you’ve obtained by taking a speed-awareness course.

Do I have to tell my insurance provider?

You don’t legally have to tell your insurance provider that you’ve been on a speed-awareness course unless they specifically ask you.

You won’t be asked when filling out a quote form either, as it’s not classed as a driving conviction. Course data isn’t held by the DVLA, so it won’t be on your driving record and can’t be checked by insurance providers.

However, you must declare any unspent driving convictions and points on your licence. If you don’t tell your insurance provider about any convictions in the last five years, it could invalidate your car insurance.

If you’re not sure if any past convictions are spent, you can check your licence information at GOV.UK.

It’s still a good idea to tell your insurance provider that you’ve attended a speed-awareness course, though. There’s always the chance that withholding information could invalidate your car insurance – so it’s not worth the risk of keeping quiet.

And while some providers may increase your annual premium, others may simply make a note on your insurance file without changing the price of your policy.

When it comes to insurance, honesty is always the best way to go, so we recommend telling your insurance provider if you’ve attended a speed-awareness course. If they do increase the price of your premium, shop around to see if you can find a cheaper deal from another provider.

How can a speed-awareness course benefit my car insurance?

Taking a course means avoiding penalty points and a driving conviction, which can push up the cost of your premium.

However, the main purpose of a speed-awareness course is to encourage safe driving habits. Understanding the impact of high-speed driving could significantly help you improve your road skills and become a safer driver. This means you’ll be less of a risk and your chances of having an accident will be far lower.

Safer driving also means there’s less chance of you having to make a claim, which will help you build up your no-claims discount over the years.

If you’re a young driver, you might also benefit from cheaper car insurance by taking out a black box policy. Telematics technology can help you monitor your driving habits, including your speed. If you can prove you drive carefully, within the speed limits, you might be rewarded with a cheaper premium.

Top tips to avoid speeding

Of course, the best option is to avoid a speeding fine or speed-awareness course altogether. You, and other road users will be safer – and you may end up paying less for your car insurance.

Here’s our top tips for avoiding speeding:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete your journey, set off early and factor in possible traffic hotspots and diversions
  • Use a hands-free navigation app for a clear route to follow, traffic updates and speed limit warnings
  • Always look at the road signs, even if you think you know the limit for the road you’re on
  • Pay particular attention to your speed near schools, parks and shopping centres – even if you’re within the speed limit, slow right down
  • Use cruise control on the motorway – it’ll curb the temptation to put your foot down on long stretches

Compare and save

It’s a good idea to shop around and compare different insurance providers before buying a policy. And comparing car insurance quotes with us could even save you up to £267** on your premium.

Just enter your details and those about your car, and within a matter of minutes you’ll have a range of insurance providers to choose from.

**Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during May 2021 50% of customers could save up to £267.92 on their car insurance premium.

Looking for a quote?

Compare car insurance in minutes to see if you can save

Get a quote
Compare car insurance Get a quote