National Motorway Awareness Course

In our previous blog – Penalties for high-level speeding offences – we explained the sentencing guidelines for people that drive at excessive speeds. We are now going to look at low level speeders who commit offences on Smart motorways.

When you may be offered a course

If you are caught speeding on the motorway and have exceeded the active variable speed limit (as electronically displayed on the overhead gantries and roadside electronic signs) either by a police officer or an automated camera device, you may be offered a national motorway awareness course dependent upon your speed. It is always at the discretion of the police whether you are offered a course.

It may also be offered if you pass through a mandatory Red X lane closure signal and for infringements on hard shoulders and emergency refuge areas.

In respect of speeding offences if you are not offered a course you may be offered a fixed penalty notice whereby you would pay £100 and have 3 points endorsed on your licence. This will depend upon how you much you exceeded the speed limit by and is always at the discretion of the police

How can you access a motorway awareness course?

You will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution from the police about the commission of a speeding offence. You need to reply within the relevant time period confirming whether or not you were driving the vehicle at the time the offence took place. You will only be offered the course if you were the driver at the time of the offence.

Usually when the police offer you the opportunity to do a course, they will do so in writing you will also be given the details of the local provider of the course in your area, and you can either call or book a course online. You do not need to do the course in the area you committed the offence. There is a booking fee; this is usually between £80 and £100 depending on the course provider and the venue.

What does an awareness course involve?

The course content is designed to change the driver’s behaviour with the aim of preventing the driver from reoffending. It is educational and not a test. It is a half-day course there are options to attend on weekdays as well as weekends, and you need to attend a course within four months of the date of the offence.

There may be up to 24 people attending the course, and it is usually quite an informal and relaxed atmosphere. There will be normally be two trainers, and they are employed by the chosen provider and are not part of the police force.

Some of the areas covered at the session are:

  • How to recognise speed limits, especially on Smart Motorways
  • Discuss the common reasons for speeding on the motorway
  • Explain the consequences that can arise from speeding
  • Advise on how to reduce the likelihood of speeding in the future

The course is designed to be interactive, and the trainers expect everyone to participate. The course is being updated at the end of 2018, and there will be more emphasis on interaction, and they will be showing more videos to help get the message across about the dangers of speeding.

What if I have already done a Speed Awareness Course

Even if you have done a speed awareness course in the last 3 years the police have a discretion to offer you the opportunity to attend a Motorway Awareness Course.

What happens if you are late for the course or don’t attend

When you attend the course, you must take your driving licence with you; if you do not, and you have not first informed the providers they will probably not allow to participate in the course. Also, if you are late, you will not be able to attend.

If you cannot attend on the day due to ill-health, you will need to have a doctor’s note as evidence. If you know well in advance it is worth you cannot attend it is worth trying to re-arrange the date with the provider; you may need to pay an admin fee to do this.

There is also an expectation that you will get involved and any bad behaviour will result in you being asked to leave.

Obviously the most serious offence is to attend a course pretending to be the offender, if you do this then you can face a prison sentence, so we do not advise this in any circumstances.

In all these situations your case is highly likely to be referred back to the police, and you may need to go to court.

We hope that you have found this article useful. If you or any member of your family commits a speeding offence and you would like some further advice, please do contact Maria directly by calling 0115 784 1588 or email

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