Alternatives to Prosecution

Posted on January 1st, 2018 by GEM Motoring Assist


Introduction
Speeding
Red traffic lights
National driver awareness scheme
Drink-drive rehabilitation workshops
Frequently asked questions

Introduction

Where motorists are caught committing certain road traffic offences they can be given the opportunity to attend a re-education course as an alternative to prosecution. The most popular courses are for drivers caught speeding, but there are also workshops for drivers jumping red traffic lights, not wearing seatbelts but there are various others all aimed at keeping people safe on the roads. They are offered at the discretion of the relevant Chief Constable so not all courses may be available in all areas.

The courses are delivered by an officially recognised training provider who must be a member of the Association of National Driver Improvement Course Providers (ANDISP) and are all quality assured by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS). In this way the standard of delivery of these national courses is maintained whether you live in Land’s End or John O’Groats.

The idea behind the courses is to help drivers and riders challenge and change their own attitudes, to make them more aware of their own responsibility for their actions and to develop a personal safety strategy. Further information can be found here https://ndors.org.uk/

Speeding

Courses for drivers caught exceeding the speed limits are offered under the guidance of the National Speed Awareness Scheme. This was put in place by police forces across the UK to allow motorists caught speeding to have the chance of completing a workshop rather than be issued with three penalty points and a £100 fine. In 2016 1,188,961 people attended this course.

If you are caught exceeding the speed limit you may receive notification that you are eligible to attend a speed awareness workshop. Usually the drivers eligible will be those that have exceeded the legal limit but not by a large amount. Each individual police force decides its own margins. If you are invited to attend such a course you will be given a specific date, time and location to attend and you will need to accept the offer. If you cannot accept it, you will need to take the fine and the points on your license instead.

The cost of attending a speed workshop varies across the different force areas. You could usually expect to pay between £100 and £150. You may find you are paying more to join the course than you would be as your fine, but by avoiding penalty points you can keep your insurance premium down and save money in the long run.

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Red traffic lights
Red light offences, overtaking on double white lines and aggressive tailgating can all be dealt with on the What’s Driving Us? Course. This course aims to explain to drivers the risk they pose to themselves and others by their driving behaviour. The course therefore aims to have a long-term impact on safety for all road users, and helps reduce the numbers killed and injured.

National driver awareness scheme

Formerly known as the Driver Improvement Scheme these workshops provide further training for drivers who have been involved in a road collision or incident. The benefits are that they will avoid prosecution for a Careless Driving offence and will hopefully reduce the risk of being involved in similar incidents in future.

In order to attend this course you would typically have been involved in a collision or incident where the police have investigated the circumstances and feel that you have a case to answer in court, or the police feel that you would benefit from attending on a voluntary self-referral basis.

Research suggests the workshops have a positive impact. Scientific studies by University of Exeter in the late 1990s have shown a tendency for less re-offending after attendance on a Driver Improvement Scheme

Driver improvement workshops
These workshops provide further training for drivers who have been involved in a road collision or incident. The benefits are that they will avoid prosecution for a Careless Driving (os similar) offence and will hopefully reduce the risk of being involved in similar incidents in future.

In order to attend a Driver Improvement Course you would typically have been involved in a road crash or incident where the police have investigated the circumstances and feel that you have a case to answer in court, or the police feel that you would benefit from attending on a voluntary self-referral basis.

Research suggests the workshops have a positive impact. Scientific studies by University of Exeter in the late 1990s have shown a tendency for less re-offending after attendance on a Driver Improvement Scheme.

Drink-drive rehabilitation workshops

If you are convicted of an offence involving drinking and driving, then the magistrate (or in Scotland the sheriff), may offer you the opportunity of attending a rehabilitation course. Completion of a course will entitle you to a reduction of up to a quarter in the period of disqualification. In the case of a one year period of disqualification, the reduction will be three months. The court will decide the length of reduction for longer periods of disqualification.

The purpose of the course is to educate drivers about the effects of alcohol consumption. A range of issues will be covered, including information about alcohol and its effect on the body; the effect of alcohol consumption on performance, particularly driving ability, and behaviour; analysis of drink/driving offences; alternatives to drinking and driving future action and sources of advice. The content of courses run by different organisers across the country may vary but is likely to involve short lectures; group discussion; role play; assessment of personal drinking habits and presentations by police officers, lawyers or doctors.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Is there evidence that attending a speed awareness course will do me any good?
A: Yes. Figures show that, on average, one in 12 drivers who have attended a workshop will be stopped again for speeding. That compares with one in four drivers who received a fixed penalty ticket, points and a fine.

Q: I’ve had a speeding ticket but no invitation to attend one of these workshops. Can I write to the police and ask to be put on one as I’d prefer not to have points on me licence?
A: No. You can only attend a workshop if you are referred for it by the police.

Q: Do I need to inform my insurer that I’ve been put on a speeding course? Will it affect my premium?
A: No, you do not. That’s because the speeding offence is cancelled. However, if you do not take the offer of a workshop, then you are obliged to notify your insurer of any prosecutions.

Q: I did one of these speed courses two years ago and I think I was recently flashed by a camera. If I get a ticket, will I have another go on the speed workshop?
A: No. Drivers cannot attend a course if they have attended a Speed Awareness course within the last three years.

DISCLAIMER
The information on this Site is provided on the understanding that GEM Motoring Assist is not rendering legal or other advice. You should consult your own professional advisers as to legal or other advice relevant to any action you wish to take in connection with this website.