A record 1.2m drivers attended a speed awareness course in 2015, Gocompare.com looks at the insurance implications
According to statistics from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme*, over 1.2 million drivers attended speed awareness courses in 2015. That’s a 170% increase from 2010 when just over 447,700 motorists caught committing a minor speeding offence opted to attend a course rather than accept penalty points.
Gocompare.com Car Insurance is advising drivers that while the police and most insurers do not consider attending a course to be the same as a driving conviction – some car insurers might. Therefore, drivers who have opted for a course should check their insurance policy to see if they are required to disclose their attendance.
Speed awareness courses aim to teach people to be safer drivers. Developed with the help of psychologists, the National Speed Awareness Scheme aims to reduce the speed at which people drive and cut re-offending by educating them on the potential consequences of excessive or inappropriate speed.
Most police forces offer the course as an alternative to penalty points and a fine to drivers for minor speeding offences. To be eligible, drivers must not have been convicted of any other speeding offences in the past three years and the speed at which they were driving must fall into certain criteria - typically over 10% of the limit plus 2mph, but below 10% plus 9mph.
For example, drivers would be offered the option of attending a course if they were caught driving between:
- 35mph and 42mph in a 30mph zone;
- 46mph and 53mph in a 40mph zone;
- 79mph and 86mph on a road where the speed limit is 70mph.
The courses are classroom-based, interactive workshops and take four hours to complete. The cost of courses varies across the country, but is around £100.
The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points on your licence**. An SP30 conviction can add an average of £32.34 to an annual insurance premium for a 30 year old driver and as much as £376.97 for a 20 year old***
Matt Oliver, spokesman for Gocompare.com Car Insurance, commented: “Speeding is one of the most commonly committed motoring offences. Some drivers caught driving over the speed limit may be eligible to attend a speed awareness course rather than receive a fine and points on their licence. The purpose of the course is to improve road safety through education rather than prosecution.
“Opting for a speed awareness course means that the police do not record your speeding offence as a conviction, but you may still be required to disclose your attendance to your insurer.
“When applying for car insurance, insurers ask if you have any motoring convictions or prosecutions. As neither of these apply to drivers who have attended a speed awareness course The Financial Ombudsman has confirmed that drivers attending a course can honestly answer ‘No’ to this question.
“However, if an insurer asks specifically about attendance of a speed awareness course, then drivers must provide this information on the application form or at any other time during the lifetime of the insurance policy. Failure to do so may invalidate the insurance.”
Matt Oliver concluded: “Insurers’ positions on speed awareness courses differ, with some considering attendance as information that’s relevant to pricing premiums. Therefore, drivers who’ve attended a course may find that they have to pay more for cover – but the increase is likely to be smaller than if they had points on their licence. These drivers also have the option of shopping around to see if they can get a better deal elsewhere.”
Gocompare.com has produced a guide on speed awareness courses.
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Notes to editors:
*Source - National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) statistics: In 2010 447,724 drivers attended NDORS speed awareness courses across the UK. In 2015 the number of drivers attending course increased to 1,207,570 – an increase of 170%.
**Source - https://www.gov.uk/speeding-penalties
*** £32.34 figure based on average difference between Gocompare.com’s 5 cheapest fully comprehensive car insurance quotes for a 30 year old driving 2013 Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 i Energy both with and without an SP30 conviction, £376.97 figure based on average difference between Gocompare.com’s 5 cheapest fully comprehensive car insurance quotes for a 20 year old driving 2013 Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 i Energy both with and without an SP30 conviction. Quotes obtained on 15th April 2016.