Speed awareness course: What you need to know

Speed awareness course: What you need to know

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.

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.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine October 2019

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Last modified: October 14, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.


  1. Carl JonesMay 29, 2020

    Just a comment.
    I was caught speeding, doing 33 mph in a 30 zone, and offered a course. Although I had a clean licence, nothing in a large number of years. I declined as, I would lose a days pay and believed 3 points for a speed camera offence was not going to hurt my insurance too much.
    I may have been wrong, but having seen incidents of excessive speed related accidents, I believed I knew of the consequences and would have been wasting their and my time.
    I can accept that I might have been justifying things in my own eyes, but that is why I took my decision, accepted the points, paid my fine and got on with the rest of my life.

  2. I had a speed awarness booked for July. They have just rang me and asked me to do it on line,which I am not good at being 73.They said there was no extension to the time limit even though we are in total lockdown in Wales.This does not seem sensible and unfair.

  3. Hi, I differ in opinion.

    Speed awareness courses seem little more than another revenue raising exercise.
    Plus the intransigent, pig headed, sheer bloody mindedness of the robots running them is jaw dropping.
    My son, deciding to attend one to keep a clean licence, was suddenly taken seriously ill and admitted to a cardiac ward for two weeks.
    This, apparently, did not constitute reasonable grounds to rearrange his course or refund the payment so he faced a fine, 3 points and a wasted re-education fee.
    After days of argument we finally got the concession to take another course at different venue 60 miles away.
    As the article rightly says, it’s just another reason to avoid having sufficient Police on the roads.

  4. Andrew DaltonJune 2, 2020

    Clearly a number of you are having real problems with the course. Mine was simple enough. I got caught by a speed van. I knew I was speeding – I was offered the course, so I took it. Back in my earlier days it would have been a copper, usually road traffic, who would have given me a firm talking to unless I was “one to watch” for speeding. My real problem with speed cameras is a simple one. They deal with one thing only, speed. I deal with motorcycle accidents, all day, every day. Speed is rarely a significant factor. Bad, unobservant driving is the thread that runs through pretty well every case I do. If drivers looked, rather than glanced, I wouldn’t have a job. Given the choice, I’d replace most speed cameras with a real copper on a motorcycle and use my taxes for policing.

  5. David McGeeJune 5, 2020

    I took a course last year after doing 35 in a 30. No complaints as I should have known better although I dispute wether the road in question should be a 30 but from actually listening on the course I gather the cameras are often sited where previous serious collisions have occurred. After 20 years in the Police driving marked vehicles (civilian role) and 30+ years driving in general with 15 on a bike I thought I knew it all and I wouldn’t learn much but took the course to avoid the points and the annual insurance questions for the next 5 years. How wrong I was, 2 very competent, fair and open minded instructors, made the course not only interesting but very educational (almost fun?) It was a great eye opener to what I’ve forgotten since taking my test as a spotty teenager. It’s certainly made me aware of my speed and to be wary of potential hazards on the road. There were a few on the course who were repeat offenders (after the 3 year abstinence) who moaned about being there and were just avoiding the points but not taking an interest. Maybe they vary around the country but all I can say Culham in Oxfordshire was a very good course but I do not intend repeating it.

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