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Speed Awareness Courses: Do They Actually Help Reduce Speeding?

Forty percent of motorists who take a speed awareness course go on to speed again, a study has found. It casts doubts on their overall effectiveness in tackling speeding on the nation’s roads…

Rampant Re-Offending 

Four in ten motorists who participate in speed awareness courses go on to speed again. That’s according to a survey, involving 2,000 drivers, conducted by Kwik Fit. Whilst this may cast some doubt on their effectiveness, figures for re-offending are actually higher for verbal warnings and penalty points; sitting at 58% and 55% respectively. Worryingly, 90% of motorists issued with a maximum of 6 penalty points went on to speed again. Kwik Fit speculates that this is because drivers who drive at excessive speeds are more likely to be serial offenders. As it stands, speed awareness courses are offered to drivers who go over the speed limit, but not excessively. Police forces can elect to offer these instead of the customary three penalty points and fine. However, 39% of the survey’s respondents felt that penalty points were more effective. 43% felt that a driving ban was the best deterrent.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, felt that awareness courses are given a harder time than they deserve, but he did stress the need for prevention. He said, “one of the biggest dangers on our roads is excessive speed, and the findings of our research indicates that speed awareness courses have a greater impact on drivers’ behaviour than many perceive”. He added, ‘of course, while any measure which reduces the number of drivers repeatedly speeding is hugely welcome, we must focus on educating drivers not to speed in the first place – drivers should not need to be caught to be given a wake up call’.

So What’s The Answer? 

If you’ve been issued with a speeding ticket, the chances are you’re a regular speeder; that’s the consensus formed by motoring groups. Figures for re-offending demonstrate this but, more importantly, they demonstrate that education and punishment only go so far; at least in their current forms. Whilst academics and psychiatrists can conjure as to the precise causes at length, legislators need something more tangible. The European Union’s answer is taking the form of speed limiters; something it’s mandated that all new cars after 2022 will need. Despite Brexit, the Department for Transport has said the UK will follow suite. These, in theory, will simply force drivers to obey the speed limit (although we’re still not sure whether drivers will be allowed to turn them off). There’s also controversy concerning cost, standardisation and even individual liberty.

Part of the appeal of driving is the sense of one’s own space and personal freedom; so it’s no surprise that many motorists oppose speed limiters. But it’s also clear that speeding remains a major problem, causing a significant amount of accidents and fatalities. If serial offenders aren’t responding to education or increasingly firm punishments, perhaps the only solution is to physically deprive them of the means to speed in the first place? Sensible drivers, no doubt, would suggest that a driving ban is the best response and that they should be free of limiters. But if the national speed limit is 70 mph, why should we wish to go any quicker in the first place…

The Nation’s Speeding Habits Have Been Revealed – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/nations-speeding-habits-revealed/

Brits Are Ignorant About Car Maintenance, According To Survey – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/brits-are-ignorant-about-car-maintenance-according-to-survey/

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