Everything you need to know about speed awareness courses
If you’re caught speeding, you may face a fine, points on your licence, or even a prison sentence. However, in more minor cases, you may be asked to attend a speed awareness course instead.
What is a speed awareness course?
A speed awareness course is a course that’s designed to make you aware of the dangers of speeding and the possible consequences it may have on you and others. It’ll refresh your knowledge of the Highway Code, as well as any updates or changes to the rules you might not be aware of. Overall, a speed awareness course can help improve your attitude towards driving safely.
Speed awareness courses are run by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS), which is managed by UK Road Offender Education (UKROEd).
You can book a speed awareness course on the Gov.uk website. However, if you’ve been caught speeding and you qualify for a speed awareness course, you’ll be given this as an option when you receive the notice of your speeding offence.
Depending on the circumstances in which you’re caught speeding, you might not be given the option of attending a course – more on eligibility criteria below.
What speed qualifies for the speed awareness course?
Whether you’re invited to attend a speed awareness course depends solely on the discretion of the police – not everyone caught speeding will be given the option to do so.
When assessing whether you qualify for the speed awareness course, the police will consider the following:
If you’ve already completed a course in the past three years, or you’re booked on an upcoming course – if so, you won’t qualify
If you only narrowly exceeded the speed limit, falling within the ‘acceptable’ range set out by the National Police Chief Council:
Driving speed (mph)
Speed limit in the area (mph)
How long does a speed awareness course stay on your record?
If you’ve attended a speed awareness course, it’ll stay on your record for 3.5 years. This information is kept on the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme database. During this period, you won’t be given the option to attend another course if you’re caught speeding again.
The impact a speed awareness course may have on the cost of your car insurance depends on your provider. On one hand, some insurers will raise your premium, as they consider your speeding as a risk. On the other hand, others will view it as a positive thing, as you may be more aware of road safety and responsible driving.
Ultimately, being a safer driver will bring down your car insurance costs in the long term. The safer you are, the lower the chance of you having to make a claim – which, in turn, will help you build up your no-claims discount over time.
Our page on how speeding can affect car insurance costs has more information.
How much do speed awareness courses cost?
If you’re asked to attend a speed awareness course, you’ll be expected to pay for it yourself.
The cost will vary depending on location, but you can generally expect to pay somewhere between £80 to £100 for a three-hour course.
How will I know if I can take a speed awareness course after speeding?
If you’ve committed a speeding offence and have been caught, you’ll be notified by the police within 14 days of the alleged offence. And if you’re eligible to attend a speed awareness course, you’ll be given three options:
Attend and complete a speed awareness course
Accept the conditional offer of fixed penalty – the minimum is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your driving licence
Request a court hearing to appeal the alleged offence
You’ll be given a date, time and location for your speed awareness course.
What happens on speed awareness courses?
A speed awareness course will be a theory-based workshop consisting of presentations, discussions and activities. It’s designed to positively improve your attitude and behaviour towards road safety.
It lasts for three hours and covers:
The importance of staying within the speed limits
How to identify speed limits on certain roads
How to recognise situations where you may speed, and how to deal with them
What you can do to avoid speeding
There’s no test, so you don’t have to pass the course to complete it. However, you’re expected to attend the full session, actively participate, and demonstrate a good attitude towards road safety.
Speed awareness courses can be delivered both online and in person.