The number of drivers referred to retraining such as speed awareness courses after breaking the law has jumped by more than a third in five years, according to official figures.
According to Press Association analysis of data from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (Ndors), 1.45 million motorists in the UK attended a course in 2018 – up 36 per cent on the figure from 2013.
The vast majority of those – 1.19m – were speed awareness courses – but there are seven other types of courses, including safe and considerate driving and new motorway awareness course.
In total 10 million drivers – around a quarter of licence holders in the UK – have attended one of the courses.
The courses are offered at the police’s discretion to drivers guilty of minor traffic offences as an alternative to a fine and penalty points. The courses themselves are run by private companies and cost motorists between £75 and £99.
1.45 million motorists in the UK attended a driver retraining course in 2018 (Photo: Shutterstock)
Drivers are only offered a course in place of punishment once in three years and while all eight courses are offered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but only the motorcyclist and safe and considerate driving ones are offered in Scotland.
A spokesman for UK Road Offender Education, the body which manages Ndors, told PA that independent research showed the courses were more effective at reducing speeding over a three-year period than issuing fines and points.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “This data suggests that, astonishingly, as many as one in four drivers has now been sent back to the classroom for breaking road traffic law – hopefully to emerge as ambassadors for better, more responsible motoring behaviours.
“While the logic of sending drivers who commit minor transgressions back to the classroom is clear, it begs the question of what should be done in a similar vein to tutor those found guilty of more serious breaches of the rules of the roads before they injure or kill themselves or others?”