Everything you need to know about the speed awareness course and what you need to do if caught speeding
1. Is it Speed Awareness Course or Driver Improvment Program?
It's known as both, they are the same thing.
2. When is a speed awareness course offered?
The choice of a speed awareness course is only offered if your speed is naughty rather than shocking: the formula is the speed limit plus ten per cent, plus 9mph as the upper level.
However, this formula is not mandatory and is subject to local police discretion - some forces will not offer it if you are speeding in a 20mph zone, others will.
3. Does the speed awareness course have any legal standing?
The course has no particular legal standing
4. What if I am caught speeding again within 3 years?
You are unlikely to be offered a repeat if you have already attended in the last three years: the database is now centralised so a course offered by the Met will be known by Cheshire Constabulary. And so on...
5. How much does the speed awareness course cost?
The cost (£70 to £120) is usually less than the fine
6. What is the speed awareness course like?
I can only speak from my own driver improvement course, which was in 2012, it is worth taking a day's leave and sitting through the eight hour detention at a driver re-education camp.
I learned a few useful things. It was not especially dull and I did not feel as though I was in a school detention. Our instructor was a former Police class 1 driver and motorcyclist, and was far from preachy.
7. Do I have to declare I've been on a speed course to my insurers?
As far as I am aware only Admiral insurance ask the question: 'have you been on a driver awareness course?' on a policy proposal...
The rules on declaration for an ordinary consumer on a contract of insurance are pretty straight forward: if asked a question you must answer it honestly, with a reasonable amount of care, if another insurer does not ask the question then you do not have to volunteer the information, but if you do go on any form of poiice instigated driver improvement course do check your renewal forms.
'Auto-renewal' is a brilliant little scam for insurers because the onus is on we the consumers to check the details, if it slips your mind and the premium leaves your account and you are unfortunate enough to have to make a claim they will scrutinise every aspect.
8. What happens if I don't declare that I've been on a speed course?
In my experience some insurers deserve to be trusted while many more do not and they will try everything to wriggle out of payment: if your insurer has asked you about a driver improvement course at question 27b of your renewal and you do not declare it, you will not be paid if your bike is stolen.
9. What if I am late to the speed awareness course?
If offered a course, get there on time. I know of at least one solicitor who was offered a course, turned up a few minutes late due to traffic congestion only to have the offer withdrawn and points applied to his licence.
10. Isn't the speed awareness course a substitute for less traffic Police?
It seems to me that the driver improvement course has simply monetised what used to happen - when we actually had police officers who patrolled roads, pulled over drivers, deployed a proper verbal going over if said driver was speeding before sending the offender on his/her way with a flea in their ear.
Bike Magazine October 2019