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Speed awareness courses more effective than penalty points

Study of 2.2 million speeders finds 23 per cent reduction among speed awareness course participants

Worst speeders in England and Wales revealed

Drivers who take speed awareness courses instead of being given penalty points and a fine are less likely to reoffend, according to a new report.

The Government-backed study, carried out by Ipsos Mori, found speed awareness course participants are 23 per cent less likely to be caught speeding again in the six months after sitting a speed awareness course than those who opt to take penalty points instead.

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• Speed awareness courses: everything you need to know

The researchers analysed the records of 2.2 million motorists in order to obtain their results. Of these, 1.4 million took a speed awareness course, 192,000 chose to take penalty points and a fine, while 428,000 were speeding above thresholds for awareness course eligibility.

The difference in reoffending rates between those taking speed awareness courses and those not doing so diminished over time, but even after three years, drivers who sat an awareness course were still nine per cent less likely to reoffend.

In total, 21 per cent of speed awareness attendees reoffended within three years, compared to 23 per cent who took points instead of sitting a course.

• Half of drivers say speeding is acceptable

The researchers concluded that “participation in the National Speed Awareness Course reduced reoffending in comparison with the sanction of penalty points and fine associated with a Fixed Penalty Notice, and that this effect – while reducing with time - persisted over 36 months.”

Some 1.4 million drivers took part in a speed awareness course last year, raising an estimated £54 million for the police in the process. Course fees vary across the country, but drivers typically pay between £75 and £99 to sit one, with police forces receiving £45 for each candidate.

The UK’s driving offence hotspots have been revealed. Does your area feature in the top ten?

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