Speeding awareness courses surge in popularity

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More than double the number of motorists are opting for a speed awareness course to avoid penalty points, new figures show.

Policing Minister Damian Green said 953,428 drivers chose to undertake the programme rather than receive points on their licence in 2013 compared with 447,724 in 2010 – a rise of almost 113 per cent.

Some 772,430 motorists chose the course instead of points in 2011 and 926,101 in 2012, according to the data released in Parliament.

Motorists pay a fee to complete the national speed awareness scheme. It aims to encourage them to drive at lower speeds by changing their attitudes, which includes showing them the potential consequences of speeding.

But if a driver commits another speeding offence under the same criteria within three years of the first offence then they will not be offered the option of a second course.

Mr Green, responding to a parliamentary question, said: “The offer of a speed awareness course is at the discretion of the police.

“To be deemed eligible there must be no excessive speed or other offences committed at the same time. Information on previous motoring convictions is not taken into account.”

Mr Green was replying to Shadow Transport Minister Richard Burden, who asked how many new drivers who received driving convictions undertook speed awareness courses in each year since 2010.

The reply did not specify the number of new drivers who had opted for the courses.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: “On balance, this has to be a good news for all concerned as this gives motorists the chance to understand the dangers associated with speed rather than simply adding points to their licences without any driver-education benefit.”