Drivers ‘less likely to reoffend’ after speeding course

Drivers ‘less likely to reoffend’ after speeding course
Speed awareness courses are “clearly working well”, according to official figures, which suggest a lower re-offending rate among recent attendees.

The increasingly-popular and sometimes-controversial courses – labelled a Government ‘cash cow’ by critics – are offered to motorists for a fee of £100, as an alternative to a fine and three points on their driving licence.

Latest figures show that in the six months after a first offence, those who attend a course are up to 23% less likely to speed again, compared to those who accept the points.

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The major Government-funded study analysed data on 2.2 million UK drivers, concluding that the courses appear to have a lasting impact.

After three years of sitting the half-day course, the reoffending rate was up to 13% lower than drivers who chose not to attend.

In 2017, 1.4 million motorists elected to attend a course, a new record, instead of accepting the usual punishment.

The findings also suggest those who opt to take the course are less likely to be involved in serious collisions that cause injury.

Since last September, £45 of each course fee paid by drivers goes straight to the police, who pocketed £56.7 million in 2017.

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Road policing chief, Anthony Bangham, earlier this year hit out at the courses, arguing they are “overused” and too soft on motorists.

But the new independent research, which used data from 13 police forces between 2012 and 2017, appears to legitimise their effectiveness.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said the numbers show that the National Speed Awareness Course “is clearly working well in preventing drivers from putting other road users at risk by breaking speed limits.”

Now in its sixteenth year, the course is currently used by all but two police forces across England and Wales.

David Davies, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Road Safety, said: “These findings are a win-win for motorists and for road safety. We knew that drivers who attended speed awareness courses found them useful and preferred them to penalty points which have no educational value.

“Now we know that speed awareness courses also have bigger safety benefits.”

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