What Happens on a Speed Awareness Course
A first speeding offence typically attracts a £100 penalty and three penalty points on your licence, and at their discretion the Police may offer some speeding motorists the option of attending a National Speed Awareness Course (NSAC) in lieu of paying the fine and receiving the endorsement.
Who is Offered the Course
It is estimated that approximately 1.2 million UK motorists attend speed awareness courses each year and the decision as to who is offered the alternative of the NSAC is that of the Police authority for the region of where the speeding offence was committed. The option cannot be requested by the motorist and typically, the course will be offered to first time offenders that were only slightly above the speed limit. However, the criteria do vary across different regions, and some authorities may offer the course to offenders who were significantly above the speed limit.
What Does the NSAC Cost
A Speed Awareness Course will usually cost around £100, give or take, so it is not designed to be a cost saving but as an opportunity to re-educate drivers and modify their driving habits. The additional benefit to offenders is not having penalty points added to their driving licence which can avoid an increase in insurance premiums. Though some insurance companies will still consider attending a NSAC in the same way as they would a conviction, on the basis that the offence was still committed.
Who Runs the NSAC
Speed Awareness Courses are not actually run by the Police themselves but by approved civilian representatives who quite often may be local driving instructors who are authorised to present the course. Attendees must remain for the whole duration of the course, usually lasting around three to four hours, and upon its completion it is deemed that the speeding offence has been officially dealt with and confirmation of your attendance will be sent to the Police with no further action taken.
What Does the Speed Awareness Course Involve
The National Speed Awareness Course is a theory-based workshop designed to help drivers recognise speed limits on different types of roads, address the reasons for their speeding and provide information that will help reduce the likelihood of speeding in the future.
Around 24 drivers attend each course and the group is usually split into smaller groups of four to six to take part in various exercises about things like hazard perception, potentially dangerous situations and also awareness of the applicable speed limit on different roads and in various surroundings. There will be various visual aids like videos, photos and power point presentations shown during the workshop that help illustrate each subject.
There will probably be a written questionnaire to complete, though there are no pass/fail criteria applied, you just need to demonstrate a willingness to take part and there may also be a question & answer session too. It is at this point that, from my own personal experience having attended such a course, I would recommend that participants do not try to convert or educate the instructors as to the virtues of appropriate speeding ‘when perfectly safe to do so’, because it will only serve to lengthen the duration of the session. Most people, me included, just wanted to get finished and be allowed to leave!
That said, I can confirm that I personally found the part about speed limits to be quite useful, as it was a long, long time ago that I last read and studied the highway code, so I’m sure that the course can be a positive experience for most who attend.