Record number of motorists returning to classrooms to escape points on their licence: Speed awareness and driver retraining courses attended by 1.5m in 2021
- More drivers took retraining courses in 2021 than any other year since 2014
- Previous annual high was 1.3m in 2020 and most attended virtual sessions due to the pandemic
- More than four in five of these were speed awareness courses, records show
- Retraining sessions are offered to some drivers as an alternative to points and fines for offences
A record number of drivers avoided fines and having points added to their licence by taking the option of speed awareness and other retraining courses last year, record show.
Figures from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme accessed by PA show that 1.5 million licence holders completed a course in 2021 as an alternative to a fine and possible penalty points.
That is up from 1.3 million during the previous year and represents the highest annual total on record – though these figures have only been held since 2014.
Back to the classroom: A record number of motorists sat retraining courses last year in a bid to avoid having points added to their licences and hefty fines for offences such as speeding
Of all the driver retraining courses attended last year, 86 per cent were speed awareness sessions offered to motorists caught exceeding a limit but within an ‘acceptable’ range.
The aim of the courses is to help people identify speed limits and recognise the potential consequences of driving too fast.
However, only those who haven’t attended a speed awareness course in the previous three years are given the option to take one – at a cost of between £73 and £95 – to escape having points added to their licence and minimum fines of £100.
Courses are put forward to drivers at the discretion of police forces across the UK and most carried out last year were held virtually due to the pandemic.
Education is seen as a big part of the Department for Transport’s efforts with official figures showing that speed was a contributory factor in a quarter of fatal crashes on Britain’s roads in 2020.
Of all the driver retraining courses attended last year, 86% were speed awareness sessions offered to motorists caught exceeding a limit but within an ‘acceptable’ range
The other most taken retraining courses include those which focus on motorway driving, wearing a seat belt and the causes of risky and inconsiderate driving.
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: ‘On the face of it, the increase in the number of people doing courses indicates that our driving habits have got worse despite the Covid-induced travel restrictions of last year.
‘But there’s a message motorists need to take on board: at least 1.5 million got caught flouting the law last year so if you’re tempted to speed up, remember the next driver to be caught could well be you.’
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