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Million drivers took speed awareness course in 2020 despite fall in car use

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
·2-min read

More than a million drivers took a speed awareness course in 2020 despite car use plummeting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysis of data from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (Ndors) by the PA news agency found that 1.09 million UK drivers completed a course after being caught breaking the speed limit.

The 15% year-on-year decline did not match the reduction in car traffic, which dipped below 50% of normal levels between late March and mid May due to the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, expressed “surprise” that the number of people taking speed awareness courses did not fall further.

He said: “Since March the message from ministers has been simple: don’t drive unless necessary and when you do take to the roads behave responsibly so as not to risk putting further strain on the NHS.

“Of course, not all speeding results in a speed awareness course. Many offenders will have received a fixed penalty notice and some even a prison sentence.”

He added that the “full picture of how motorists responded to Covid-19” will not be known until Home Office figures are released later this year.

There were several incidents of extreme speeding on empty roads during the first lockdown, including a driver clocked doing 151mph on the M62 in West Yorkshire.

Speed awareness courses are offered at the discretion of police forces as an alternative to penalty points and a fine for motorists who commit a minor offence.

Seven Ndors courses are provided by private companies on behalf of the police.

In addition to speeding, they cover areas such as smart motorways, the importance of wearing a seatbelt and motorcycle riding.

Drivers cannot attend more than one course within three years.

The cost for speed awareness courses ranges from £75 to £95 depending on the provider.

All courses are being held online due to the virus crisis.