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If you’re caught driving above the speed limit, the police can fine you a minimum £100 and add three penalty points to your licence.

However, in some cases, you may get the chance to take a National Speed Awareness Course (NSAC) instead of the penalty.

The speed awareness course is regulated by the Association of National Driver Improvement Course Providers (ANDISP). Regional police forces appoint a course provider in their region to deliver the sessions.

Related: How much is a fine for speeding?

What to expect at a speed awareness course

Speed awareness course teaches offenders how to identify speed limits, the dangers of speeding, the benefits of following the speed limit, the impact of their behaviour on other road users, and how to avoid speeding again. The course is for low-end speeders whom the police believe can benefit from learning more about the consequences of speeding and improve their behaviour on road.

There are usually no more than 24 people in a session and the course is typically delivered by two trainers.

The course is theoretical, classroom-based and may include some workshops. It’s around four hours long and doesn’t have a test so there’s no pass or fail.

During the course, you’ll be expected to contribute positively in discussions and demonstrate a willingness to learn and improve your driving skills.

To complete the course, you must complete all course paperwork and attend all sessions on time.

After you complete the course, you won’t be prosecuted for speeding. However, if you don’t turn up for the classes or if you fail to complete the course within the time period mentioned by the police, your eligibility to take the course will be revoked and your file will be returned to your regional police for further action.

Virtual speed awareness course

Many course providers have started delivering virtual speed awareness course sessions.

These courses have been designed as close to a face-to-face session as possible - they’re usually delivered on the same day your in-person course was supposed to take place, although the timings may vary. They may also cater to fewer people than the usual 24 people at a time in a session.

You’ll be sent instructions on how to join using a secure link and attend the online sessions.

In case you’re unable to attend the course, you can usually reschedule your booking.

To attend the virtual speed awareness course, you’ll need:
• A charged laptop
• A webcam or an in-built camera
• Stable internet connection

The passing criteria for an online speed awareness course will be the same as an in-person course – you’re not required to take a test, but you’ll still have to actively engage in discussions and contribute throughout the course.

Speed awareness course eligibility

A speed awareness course is offered instead of a penalty only in some cases –
1) When you’re caught speeding only slightly above the allowed limit, usually 10% above the limit
2) If you haven’t completed the speed awareness course in the past three years

If you fit the above two criteria, you can be eligible for a speed awareness course. However, the course isn’t compulsory, and your regional police may not offer you the course if they don’t deem it fit. If this is case, you may have to pay the fine and get points on your licence.

Is it compulsory to attend a speed awareness course?

If you’re given the option to complete a speed awareness course, you can either:
• Book and attend a speed awareness course
• Take the fixed penalty, and pay a fine and get points on your licence
• Or, appeal the offence and attend a court hearing

You are free to choose whichever option’s best for you.

Are speed awareness courses worth it?

In 2020, more than one million people completed an NSAC, according to UKROEd. A study published by The Department for Transport revealed that 15.5% drivers who refused an NSAC re-offended between April 2012 - 2017, as compared to 13.4% course-takers reoffending. Overall, drivers who took the NSAC were caught speeding again on 23% fewer occasions after six months of the course and on 10% fewer occasions after three years of the course than those who refused an NSAC.

The course can help you avoid a speeding fine and getting points on your licence, although you’ll still have to pay a fee for the course. The fee varies according to the regional course provider, and usually costs around £80 to £100.

How to book a speed awareness course

To attend a speed awareness course, you must book your sessions within 14 days of receiving the option to attend the course.

To book a speed awareness course, you’ll need:
• Your police reference number and PIN (shown on your police course offer letter).
• Your debit/ credit card to pay the fee

When attending the course, you should carry a photo ID such as your driving licence or passport.

How many speed awareness tests can you do

You can only do one speed awareness test in three years.

The National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) records data about when you attend a speed awareness course, and if you pass or fail.

If you repeat speeding within three years of completing a speed awareness course, you won’t be given the chance to take a speed awareness course again and will have to pay a fine and get penalty points.

Does speed awareness course affect insurance?

Getting a speeding ticket doesn’t impact your insurance premium much as it isn’t a criminal offence. However, informing your insurance provider about your speed awareness course can help avoid a rise in insurance premium.

Driving convictions like accident offence, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and licence offence are considered a criminal offence.

If you’re caught committing a driving conviction, it can become difficult to get car insurance or your insurance premium can rise as your insurance provider will consider you as a high risk of committing another motoring offence.

However, in some cases, your insurance provider might increase your insurance premium as they feel you could consider you at risk of committing a motoring offence. Some researches suggest that getting three penalty points can increase your insurance premium by an average of 5%.

In such a case, informing your insurance provider about your speed awareness course sessions might give them confidence in your driving.

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