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what is a speed awareness course
Simon Jones white clock learner driver5 minute read Guides

What is a speed awareness course?

Here’s what you need to know about doing a speed awareness course.

Simon Jones

It’s probably not a good thing that you’re searching this but data from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (Ndors) by the PA news agency found that 1.09 million UK drivers completed a course after being caught breaking the speed limit in 2020. But what is a speed awareness course? 

The course is designed to educate rather than punish drivers who’ve committed a minor speeding offence, to make the roads safer for everyone. The course is run by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS).  

What happens if you get caught speeding? 

You’ll be sent a letter to let you know if you get caught speeding. In a lot of cases, you’ll be able to choose from 3 options:  

  • Paying the fine and taking the points 
  • Going to court to try and settle it  
  • Enrol in a speed awareness course and take a reduced fine  

You may not get offered the speed awareness course. Partly because not all police forces subscribe to the programme and they can choose whether or not to offer the speed awareness course. But also factors like how fast you were going and how recently you’ve been caught before for a speeding offence.  

If you’re offered the opportunity to do the speed awareness course instead of taking the fine, you’ll have 14 days to respond to the letter and accept or decline. You can then go online and book a course on the UKROED website 

Will I be offered a speed awareness course? 

To qualify for the speed awareness course, it has to be for a minor speeding offence. This means that you must have been driving within a certain speed limit; typically this is +10%+2mph and +10+9mph of the speed limit. For example:  

  • 30mph limit: speeding between 35mph and 42mph 
  • 40mph limit: speeding between 46mph and 53mph 
  • 50mph limit: speeding between 57mph and 64mph 
  • 60mph limit: speeding between 68mph and 75mph 
  • 70mph limit: speeding between 79mph and 86mph 

Anything above these speeds and you probably won’t qualify for the course.  If you’re unsure about speed limits check out our guide to national speed limits.

How often can you do a speed awareness course? 

You’ll be eligible for a speed awareness course if it’s your first minor speeding offence and you haven’t been caught in the last 3 years. But again, it depends on whether the police choose to offer you the speed awareness course.  

How to check when you last had a speed awareness course? 

If you still have your reference number you can check when you last had a course by going to the NDORS website clicking through ‘Register’ and putting in your driver’s licence number instead of ‘PIN’.  

If you don’t have your reference number you can send your driving licence number and a scan/photo of your photocard driving licence showing the same driver number to 

What happens if I am not offered a speed awareness course? 

If you aren’t offered a place on the speed awareness course, then unfortunately you don’t qualify and will have to take the £100 fine and 3 points on your licence.  

How much is a speed awareness course? 

The cost of a speed awareness course varies between £80 and £100. The course is roughly the same as the Standard Fixed Penalty notice from a speeding ticket, but if you take the course you don’t get any points put on your license 

Do I have to take the course in the place where I was caught speeding? 

The course can be taken anywhere across England, Wales and Northern Ireland; so it doesn’t have to be taken where the offence took place. While in Scotland, it will need to be confirmed that you don’t have to take the course where the offence took place as it works with NDORS and other course providers (depending on the police force). 

How long is a speed awareness course? 

A speed awareness course typically lasts between 4 and 5 hours.  

What happens on a speed awareness course? 

The speed awareness course is designed to reduce the likelihood of you speeding in the future. It’s a theory based course and you’ll cover things like speed limits on different road types, hazard perception and stopping distances.  

There can be up to 24 people on the course, taught by 2 course trainers. You’ll be split up in groups of 4 to 6 to work through various tasks and slides. The course lasts around half a day and you’ll usually get a break in the middle.   

Can you fail a speed awareness course? 

There will probably be a written questionnaire to complete, but there aren’t any pass or fail criteria. You just have to display a ‘positive attitude’ during the course and contribute to group discussions.  

Do speed awareness courses run on the weekend? 

Yes courses run throughout the week but also on evenings and weekends so you should be able to find a slot that suits you.  

Do you have to declare a speed awareness course to insurance? 

You don’t need to let your insurer know about your speed awareness course, unless they ask you directly. Some insurance companies will ask you during the quote process about any speeding convictions. If you’re asked, you must answer truthfully or your policy will likely be invalid.  

What if I am caught speeding again? 

Once you have successfully completed the course, it’s case closed. This means that if you reoffend, you won’t gain any points from your first speeding fine. Once you have completed the course, your details are entered into a national database. That means if you’re caught committing the same type of offence within three years, you’ll be forced to take the points and the fine. 

Speed awareness course or points? 

Now you know ‘what is a speed awareness course?’ the question becomes ‘speed awareness course or penalty points?’. The cost is usually roughly the same, but the course will take up around 4 hours of your time.  

Having said that, it’s really important to consider the impact of having points on your license. The points on your license will push up your insurance premiums for at least 4 years, possibly more depending on the severity of the conviction.  

This will add up very quickly so the penalty points will cost you a lot more in the long run. Plus, if you get 12 points within 3 years you’ll be disqualified from driving. If you go on the course, you won’t get any points on your license and any impact on your insurance premium is likely to be much smaller.  

Make sure you’re insured 

Whenever you’re driving, make sure you’re covered. With our temporary car insurance you can get short-term cover on your own car, or borrow someone else’s from 1 hour to 60 days.   

Simon Jones

Worked for short-term car insurance provider Veygo for over 3 years. Been involved in building insurance products for learner drivers and people looking for temporary cover on cars, then telling the world about them through marketing campaigns. Also drive a bit myself, mainly my son around where ever he needs to go.

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