The speed awareness course has now been with us for some years having been introduced to offer drivers caught exceeding the speed limit (within certain thresholds) the opportunity to attend a rehabilitation course.
The aim being to reduce the likelihood of a speeding motorist committing a similar offence in the future. In return for completing the course, the driver will have to pay the course fee, attend the course and will not receive penalty points or a fixed penalty fine for the speeding offence. The speeding offence would usually be type that would otherwise have been offered a fixed penalty of 3 penalty points.
To be eligible for the speed awareness course, the speeding motorist must indicate a willingness to undertake the course and must not have undertaken the course in the preceding 3 years. More importantly, the speed that the driver was recorded at must not exceed certain thresholds, dictated by the speed limit in which the motorist is caught. The guidelines and eligibility criteria for the speed awareness course are prescribed by ACPO. For example, in respect of the recorded speed the thresholds are below:
Speed Limit Upper Threshold
30 mph 42 mph
40 mph 53 mph
50 mph 64 mph
60 mph 75 mph
70 mph 86 mph
The course will not be offered where a driver is caught speeding in a 2omph zone. Should the motorist decline the course, either at the roadside if stopped by a police officer or in correspondence if caught by a speed camera, a Conditional offer of a fixed penalty will be offered instead.
Clients of #1 Motoring Solicitors have previously asked for a guarantee from the Camera Safety Unit that the speed awareness course will definitely be offered, if they accept that they were the driver at the time of the alleged speeding offence. Unfortunately you will receive no such guarantee until you complete the relevant form accepting that you were the driver at the material time, the course is also discretionary. That said, the thresholds and criteria mentioned above will provide an indication of your eligibility.
The course itself must usually be offered and completed within 12 weeks of the offence therefore the longer that you delay accepting culpability for the speeding, the less likely that you will be offered the course. Delay in returning the forms to the police will not assist and is more likely to result in a fixed penalty.
In short, the speed awareness course is an excellent way to understand the dangers of exceeding the speed limits whilst avoiding penalty points being endorsed upon your driving licence.