The year 2017 saw a record 1.4 million drivers attending road awareness courses, with 1.2 million of these needing to take part in retraining because they were caught speeding, which has been shown in data from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS).
The Road Awareness course
NDORS is unique to the UK and is a scheme offered to those who have been caught committing a driving offence, such as speeding, which they can then complete to avoid having points added to their licence and having to pay a fine.
This is down to the discretion of the local Chief Constable and not all motorists will necessarily be offered the chance to complete the course, but those who do will be able to take part and complete a re-education which will remind them of driving laws in order to help achieve greater compliance.
Drivers who complete the course do not ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ and the aim of the courses is to prevent people from reoffending in the future, and to make them safer while they are using the roads. These courses are not suitable for those who have committed high risk offences and nobody has the right to be offered the chance to take part.
Once a road awareness course has been completed the driver’s details are kept on a database for three years, and if the same offence is committed during this time they will not be allowed to take the course again and will have to accept a points penalty and a fine.
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Is there any sign of change?
With the number of attendees across all 9 retraining courses increasing by 2% year on year this suggests that people are breaking driving laws more often rather than becoming more aware of how they should be driving.
The director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation believes that 2018 will see even more drivers having to take road awareness courses due to the introduction of smart motorways across the country. This is because there are plenty of smart motorway rules which motorists have already been breaking, to the point where 80,000 warning letters have been sent out since December 2016 with many targeted at those caught driving in a lane with a red X above it.
The past year has also seen an increase in the amount of money that the police receive for each person who attends one of these courses, which has risen from £35 to £45 per driver. This money is given to reimburse the force for the expense of catching speeding motorists and totals £54 million each year.
‘Greatly different between constabularies’
However, the number of drivers sent on road awareness courses differs greatly between constabularies, so not all police forces are benefitting from these reimbursements. For example, the Avon and Somerset police force sent 80,235 people onto these courses whereas Wiltshire saw absolutely no attendees despite being right nextdoor to Avon and Somerset.
Offenders who have decided to take the course can choose to attend wherever they like and do not have to return to the place where their offence was committed, however the correct amount of money from their attendance will go to the police force from where they were caught.
It is not only the number of road awareness course attendees that differs by area, but the amount that it costs to complete the course too. An individual sent on a speed awareness course in Northamptonshire will pay £75 whereas someone attending the same course in Essex will spend £99, which is 32% more expensive.
These figures may not necessarily be surprising as we are often hearing that more people are being caught for offences such as speeding and using a mobile phone behind the wheel, but these road awareness courses could work to deter people from re-offending, especially when they want to avoid getting points on their licence or paying a fine.
Have you ever been on a road awareness course? Do you think they are a better solution than points and a fine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
I’ve been on a couple of these courses and I felt they were worth it. I feel you’re less likely to re-offend as you learnt something and you’re not frustrated that you’ve got 3 points on your licence. Also, since the penalty for using mobile phones while “in charge of a vehicle” increased you are no longer offered one of these courses.
Unfortunately, the fact that you’ve been on a “couple” of these courses does somewhat undermine your assertion that they work to reduce re-offending. If it worked, you wouldn’t need to go again!
I was caught on a completely deserted motorway at 3.30am doing 48mph in a 12 mile long 40mph zone with not a road worker in sight. This in itself was very unfair.
But I did learn a lot from the course. Having passed my driving test about 23 years previous to this, I was amazed at how many road signs I could not identify, at the things I did not know for example that any road, even a dual carriageway, that has street lights is automatically 30mph unless otherwise signed. The graphic road crash videos we were shown also makes me much more speed aware.
So on the whole I fully support these courses and would be in favour of a compulsory short update course every 10 years or so after passing a driving test.
What do you think? Comment below.
Yes I have been on one and think they are a good idea!
Hi THERE, yes i went on a course recently and found it very interesting,
it was 1962 when i passed my test and there has been a lot of changes in the road traffic act, so it was educational, also the course supervisor was a great tutor and very enthusiastic , i found it excellent
I attended a course in which one person was attending for the third time. Clearly it was not effective in that case.
Second time he or she should have been banned for a short period, third time banned for a long period if not permanently.
Yes, attended one in their early days. Very instructive. Useful tips. Definitely a good idea, it’s a positive influence.
I have been on one of these courses after being caught in an area where I though the speed limit was higher. I now drive a car with Cruise Control and a built-in SatNav that warns when a speed camera is ahead. I am also more diligent in looking for speed limit signs.
“A record 1.4 million drivers attended road awareness courses in 2017”
A headline you would expect a motoring organisation/company to not just report the fact so many people attended, but, to also encourage drivers not to speed. Unfortunately the article is shown to be hypocritical by the fact that the very next advertisment on the email is for a Radar Speed Gun Warning device. Am I missing the point here or is it money over lives. I am sure any relative who has lost someone due to a driver speeding would be happy that this organisation is saying it is ok to speed and we will help you NOT to get caught. Shame on you PetrolPrices.
That is absolutely not the message at all. The purpose of the stories is to raise awareness of issues and help drivers save time and money. The detector device changes driving behaviour and improves road awareness, which makes people speed far less. It is not designed to help speed more and avoid getting caught.
But the aim is to improve driving behaviour it should warn the driver whenever they breach the speed limit, not just when approaching a camera at more than the speed limit. The advert really is for sales.
Rather than have this nonsense (which clearly doesn’t work) I feel getting people to take the advanced test would be a better idea. It’s made me much more proud of my driving ability. Also; speed is NOT the biggest cause of crashes. If it was then motorways would be one big heap of wreckage. It’s inattentiveness that’s the biggest cause of crashes.
Great suggestion. The Skills For Life course isn’t much more than one of these courses and the money goes to a registered charity involved in advising the government on road policy. Seems sensible.
Hi, there may be sound reasoning behind the introduction of “Smart Motorways” but in many cases I cant help feeling the these are being used to raise money. Yesterday whilst returning to Manchester from Redditch 60 mph speed restriction restrictions were in force on the M42 even though traffic condition where good. The section of M6 from the M42 northwards, almost every gantry displayed a different speed limit. Is this done to confuse drivers and raise money? Most “Smart Motorways” seem to Be with you at with you at used to enforce a new lower speed limit.
Perhaps I’m being to cynical.
I’ve been on two courses which in itself proves the point. I’m not normally a bad driver but do drive to the conditions of the road. Having realistic and more appropriate speed limits for each road should be a major consideration for police and road planners. They should be asking themselves why so many people speed in these areas and whether the limits are suitable. So, what did the courses teach me.?….. Be more aware of speed limits, but mostly of cameras and radar traps.
i attended a course in the avon and somerset area and paid £60. thought it was a better solution than points.
I went on an awareness course because I was over the speed limit! The course was totally worth & now I watch my speed all the time!
But what is really annoying is when you are in a speed zone or in a motorway maintenance speed zone & you are doing the correct speed is when drivers are overtaking you or trying to get you to speed up!
I was driving in a speed limit zone on the M6 last Saturday, when a woman truck driver was doing way over the speed limit & was right up my rear end! She was flashing her headlights & blowing the horn to get me to go faster!
I stayed at the 50mph zone & she then lost it & undertook me & went up someone else’s backside!!
Very bad driving & gives a bad name to other truck drivers!
I raised this topic at a Speed Awareness Course and was told the reason is that car speedometers read fractionally high to provide a margin to keep drivers within the limit. However, commercial vehicles such as lorries & coaches have tachographs which require precise speedometers. So your 50 probably = 47, the lorry driver’s 50 = 50. All Speed Awareness Course operators could raise bit more money by selling at a reasonable price a back window sticker saying something like “I’ve been on a Speed Awareness Course” so it’s clear why a motorist is sticking religiously to the limit.
Definately a good idea – the course i attended was amusing, informative And helpful.
for people who use mobiles take their license away but no fine. speeding more than 5 miles above the road limit – give points – 10 miles remove licence – 15 miles take the car and License. If there is a second offence do not let them drive again for at least a decade. Lets get real about this if you are ignorant and endanger others you should not be driving, If the Police catch you twice – bearing in mind the Police situation then you are ignorant and unlucky or ignorant and a serial abuser of the law and do not deserve to be on the road. A few areas doing this and removing the ignorant will reduce congestion, road rage and make driving safer for everyone. Also forget parking fines, if someone is ignorant enough to block access and park on private land they should lose their car immediately people should only be fined for overstaying in parking bays by at least 10 minutes. Everyone should have a chance and that is the one when they first pass the test, it is their responsibility to keep up to date with rules after that our politicians job to curtail Council and highway signage overload
Health and safety gone mad, what used to be 60 mph a few years ago now 40 mph, same road same conditions, straight road in the country. What comes next 30mph!!!!. Ridiculous, the usual reason for the reduction in limits is the excuse, car accidents but if you look at the reason you will find that 9 out of 10 times the driver was exceeding the speed limit in the first place. Faster cars slower speeds what’s the point. What’s is the problem with introducing 5 mph reductions instead of 10 mph, as they do in other countries, 15,25,35,45 mph. etc. What about introducing peak time traffic lights, other countries have them, after the peak time the major carriage way goes to green and the side road goes to flashing amber which means giveway. I’m fed up with being at red lights at between 2-5 am when there are no other vehicles on the roads.
Sadly, I’ve been on 2. I think they’re useful in reminding you of the things to look out for to indicate the speed limit. The statistics quoted above don’t indicate how many are first-timers and how many are repeat offenders; this is the category which would reveal if the courses are successful. Another factor is the number of mobile speed traps, which may be catching out more people by virtue of their random appearance (and sometimes at a location which isn’t necessarily unsafe but where motorists might inadvertently break the speed limit on a slope).
Hi, I have been on a speed awareness course, and am due to attend a further one soon. Both offences were doing around 36 mph in a 30 zone.
I am happy to accept the need to be more vigilant, but would like to point out two occasions were the Police could do with educating. On both occasions I was nearly hit by police cars driving on the wrong side of the road doing at least 60 mph in a 30 zone. When I rang in to report this they said they would have been attending an emergency. That may be so, but I have reservations about that. But under no circumstances have they the right to comporomise the public’s safety.
I rest my case !!!