Speed Awareness Courses

Today the RAC Foundation welcomed ACPO’s announcement to offer speed awareness courses across England and Wales. The Foundation has been campaigned for national speed awareness courses with national guidelines for three years.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation said:

"It has been clearly demonstrated through extensive pilots that these courses have a favourable effect in changing the driving behaviour and perception of speed.

"Those offenders who have attended speed education courses in areas like Lancashire show real improvements in their driving following attendance. We have argued for three years that these courses would take the sting out of camera enforcement which surveys suggest is seen as a revenue raiser."

The RAC Foundation argues that consideration should also be given to offer courses to those whose attendance would produce the biggest gain in accident reduction.

"Inappropriate speed is a problem that needs to be addressed by a package of measures - including driver education, a review of speed limits to ensure realistic limits, and better signing of speed limits including interactive warning signs.

"The Foundation believes that much greater emphasis should be put on driver re-education as an alternative to prosecution. We also stress that automatic enforcement by camera is no substitute for traffic police and Government has to address the reduction in officers as a matter of urgency*.

"We would also suggest that for those doing higher speeds, courses could be linked to a reduced number of penalty points and fines. We believe that every driver caught speeding should be offered a speed awareness course at least once. We also support the proposal for "driver re-training" for more serious offences."

The Foundation has been campaigning** for a scheme of national speed awareness courses following national guidelines as initial research suggests that those attending the courses are less likely to re-offend.

However, it is important to stress the need for national guidelines as the quality of current pilot courses varies considerably. All courses should have a practical element with the offender actually going on the road with an advanced instructor. Already more than 25,000 drivers have had the benefit of such courses in Lancashire.

3 October 2005 Staff

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