Association of Chief Police Officer of England,
Wales & Northern Ireland
GUIDANCE FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF A NATIONAL SPEED
This Road Policing Business Area Guidance, which encourages the
development of Speed Awareness Courses at a national level similar
to other driver offender retraining courses, was approved on 30
January 2006 through the Head of the Road Policing Business Area.
It is disclosable under the FOIA 2000, has been registered and audited
in line with ACPO requirements and is subject of Copyright.
As a direct result of the review of road traffic offending by
Dr. North, the police service initiated and still encourages the
widespread use of National Driver Improvement courses for minor
lapses in attention leading to offences of careless driving.
The movement to diversionary courses in place of prosecution has
its origin in the Road Traffic Review 1988, undertaken by Dr Peter
North. He pointed out that it was in the public interest to rectify
faults rather than punish the transgressor. He highlighted re-training
of traffic offenders as a way that might lead to improvement in
driving, particularly if the training was angled towards those failings.
The police service in a further response to his findings and in
its quest to improve road safety and reduce casualties is keen to
educate instead of prosecute low-end speed offenders, who may have
had a lapse of attention, rather than deliberately breaking the
There are currently two main ways in which the motoring public are
prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit; officers witnessing or
investigating an offence or cameras deployed through a safety Camera
Officers (operators) witnessing the commission of a speed
offence will normally have corroborative evidence, which includes
a type approved device (including mobile cameras). They are in a
position to use discretion at the time the offence is committed,
as they actually witness its commission and are aware of surrounding
factors on the approach to the site and at the time the offence
was committed. In many situations they will also speak to the driver
and have explanations.
Fixed safety camera equipment has only photographs which
cannot show those other factors, only the speed and time of day
of the offence and limited environmental conditions. Decision makers
may have historical information on the site and the site collision
history, but will not be aware of surrounding factors of the specific
Each method of detection must be considered separately when considering
all methods of offence disposal, including speed awareness.
If the police are to introduce speed awareness as a means of disposal
to offer the errant driver an opportunity to adapt their behaviour,
then it is necessary that criteria be set to allow consistent national
rollout of speed awareness for safety camera partnerships and police
officer enforcement alike.
It has to be accepted that with safety cameras or fixed site cameras
there is a much higher likelihood of drivers being detected than
would be the case with operational officer or mobile speed camera
deployment and enforcement will often be at lower levels. As highlighted
above, cameras themselves cannot use discretion and the photographs
show only a restricted view of the circumstances of the offence,
whereas officers detecting violators can consider the site, time
of day, weather, driver behaviour and mitigation as well as other
road users present, before they decide on whether to report the
Results from safety camera sites now show beyond doubt that speed
enforcement reduces collisions if targeted in the right areas. It
is necessary therefore for the police service to be as active as
it can in enforcing the speed limits across all roads where collisions
occur, and down towards the current ACPO 'bottom level' threshold
3of 10%+2, at least to a level whereby the best casualty reduction
is achieved. However, enforcement does not have to be prosecution
alone, it can be by way of education and should be appropriate to
the offence so as to maintain public confidence, be consistent and
above all fair.
It is quite possible that if all camera sites were set at 10%+2
and all drivers prosecuted, we could lose vital general public support
for remote camera enforcement, something we currently have. If there
are other ways of disposal after enforcement that equally achieve
the road safety benefit and most importantly the level of casualty
reduction we are ultimately aiming for, then we should at least
try those methods.
Enforcement and disposal of offenders
The police service have published ACPO bottom level thresholds
below which prosecution should not be undertaken; this is 10%+2
mph at all speeds (except 20mph, where speed awareness will not
be offered). Over time the police have agreed that the service will
incrementally reduce enforcement levels toward the ACPO bottom
level thresholds, where the road conditions and other specific
site conditions support enforcement. It must however be clear that
when considering speed awareness as a disposal that:
Enforcement is the level above which an offender is reported
for an offence,
Prosecution is the level above which the disposal will be
through fixed penalty or court appearance.
It is a duty of the police service to use discretion and adjudicate
on the facts when deciding how to dispose of an offence, which might
be by way of
warning, (either formal or informal)
a programme of education, and or;
Traditionally the police service has only had a choice between warning,
prosecution or 'no action'.
There has been a call from a number of police forces and road safety
interest groups for other interventions, not just prosecution, and
in particular national speed diversion. There are several forces
that have already introduced their own ad-hoc speed awareness course
on a local basis, which then suffer from a lack of consistency and
fairness particularly when offenders are not local.
Local courses, without national provision, are a disadvantage to
offenders who are visitors to the force area and who may not be
able to take advantage of a similar course in their home area. They
may have additional costs for accommodation, travel and greater
loss of earnings, overall, more than the costs borne by local offenders.
However, having said this, they are offered a course and can return
to the area where they committed the offence, thereby avoiding penalty
points, which is the same disposal as that for local residents.
People returning to the area where the offence was committed may
consider they are better off than those caught speeding in areas
where currently there are no speed awareness courses and fines and
penalty points are awarded for low end speeds such as 35mph in a
30mph restricted area.
The police service remains supportive and focussed on casualty reduction
and the protection of the public and their property when using the
roads lawfully. At the same time the service is aware of the need
to be fair, consistent and transparent, as well as sympathetic to
mistake and minor error and aware of the need to retain public support
for our actions.
Speed diversion has been raised as a suitable and developing disposal
for low-level infringements detected by police officers and remote
equipment deployed by safety camera partnerships as well as the
police. Introducing this as another means of disposal for low-level
offenders on a national basis is one way of achieving this. However,
it has to be accompanied by a procedure that restricts the number
of times this alternative measure is offered to an offender. The
time is right therefore for courses to be more tightly controlled
so as to be consistent and reliably deployed across the country.
The National Driver Offender Retraining Steering Group (N-DORS)4,
previously the National Driver Improvement Scheme Steering Group
(NDISSG)5, see this as consistent with the ethos of driver re-training
and will oversee this with other driver re-training diversionary
schemes. This will enable the National Speed Diversion Scheme as
well as National Driver Improvement Scheme to adapt to legislative
changes and any later post court training sentencing, should this
be introduced by the Government at a later date.
Current Position - Driver Improvement
Since 1991 all forces in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and
Wales are actively using Driver Improvement Schemes as an alternative
to prosecution for careless driving offences where a driver's mistake,
rather than intent or dangerous action, has led to a collision.
It is possible to offer such a course for drivers not involved in
a collision but found to be careless and in both cases it must only
be offered, if an officer feels they would benefit from an improvement
The scheme is designed to make a driver aware of and if possible
correct poor driving behaviour arising from errors of judgement
without the need to bring the case to court. The scheme is managed
locally by a designated officer in each police force and nationally
through a steering group (N-DORS). The group is advised by ANDISP
6and DSA and has a PACTS7 representative as the independent advisor.
This process ensures courses are provided by competent bodies who
are members of ANDISP and that those courses are consistent and
available for local offenders as well as offenders from other force
areas who do not live locally. There are national guidelines for
the procedure and courses as well as a national database to manage
the referral process.
It would be sensible to use the current National Driver Offender
Retraining Scheme structure and guidelines rather than start again
and so it has been decided to be appropriate for the National Driver
Offender Retraining Scheme to take speed diversion as an additional
area for education of certain speed offenders. This will result
in the national steering group providing national specimen contracts
for service providers, the national database for referral records
and for providers to come from ANDISP approved providers.
Speed Diversion Scheme
Consistent courses, standard initiation criteria, approved providers
and as soon as possible countrywide provision so as to allow local
attendance by offenders who commit offences at non-local sites.
Observed incidents of inappropriate speed
Officers witnessing an offence, where prosecution is not seen
as the best disposal given the circumstances of the offence, will
identify suitable offenders:
1 Who are within the criteria set out in this policy
2 Who are outside the criteria but who would benefit from speed
diversion or driver improvement.
Automatic Enforcement or Adjudication - Cases Outside General
remote or technical enforcement, back office decisions must follow
the national guidelines but with consideration of any specific criteria
allocated to the individual site. It is accepted that from time
to time letters of mitigation or other representations may influence
a decision maker's deliberations as to an appropriate method of
disposal, making speed awareness appropriate in cases where it might
otherwise not meet the criteria in this scheme.
General Speed Diversion Scheme
If this is to be as successful as Driver Improvement Schemes are,
then it will need consistent courses, initiation criteria, approved
providers, contract guidance and as soon as possible countrywide
provision to allow local attendance by offenders who commit offences
at non-local sites.
Having highlighted the need for speed diversion and the need for
a truly national scheme the following policy will apply:
1. Speed diversion courses will meet the current national specification
of content and presentation as endorsed by ACPO (NDORS). (see appendix
2. Suitable offenders will be offered other suitable venues
for the national course provided by other police forces, not only
the course provided by the areas where the offence was committed.
3. Courses offered only when the offence meets the ACPO national
standard for referral of offenders, as outlined in this policy document.
Forces would consider sites and local needs and then introduce courses
at a decided enforcement level within the agreed criteria. (including
the 3-year without a course criterion)
4. Speed Diversion courses provided to the interim approved
course specification (appendix A). (Which for now will be classroom
based with an additional on-road module if required, this are intermediate
courses between August 2005 and April 2006 (or until the national
generic model is agreed)).
5. Department for Transport research into the eventual national
generic model to be published in 2006 and adopted by all participating
forces by a date to be agreed
6. Forces who are currently providing Speed Diversion Courses,
for bottom end offenders, to realign their existing policy, procedure
and course provision to fall in line with this national policy guidance.
7. Courses should be provided on a non-profit basis i.e.
with costs kept as low as possible.
8. Course charges are to include a small element for the
recording on the DVLA database and may include a small charge to
the police service for administration. This will be within the charges
shown at (7).
9. Forces deciding to introduce speed diversion doing so
by adopting this ACPO guidance.
Methodology - Intervention and Decision Making
With consistency and fairness in mind forces adopting national
speed diversion as part of their speed enforcement policy will implement
the following national disposal decision criteria.
Criteria limits are set for access to the national speed awareness
The access criteria are meant to be a band within which there is
Nothing in this document is meant to limit the discretion of the
police to dispose of cases appropriately - but if it is linked to
one that is under the national speed awareness scheme then the criteria
must be adopted.
It is necessary that there are cut-offs so as to ensure a level
of consistency nationally, that is, a lower level below which national
speed awareness is not suitable and an upper-level above which it
is not given. It has, therefore, been necessary to agree levels
that appear reasonable and to leave any final decision for individual
forces taking into account their decided prosecution level, site
conditions and other local attendant circumstances.
Speed awareness - Police officer enforcement.
A police officer who witnesses an offence is in a much better
position to decide whether a course of instruction is appropriate
than is a decision-maker viewing camera photograph. For this reason
it is accepted that:
Any offender could be offered speed diversion if the speed was within
the criteria 10%+2 to 10%+6 (same as speed camera). The officer
could be using a speed detection device or a safety camera in this
circumstance; the important issue is the witnessing of the offence
and surrounding conditions.
If the offender was driving at speeds above the speed diversion
limit of 10%+6, the offence was observed by a police officer and
that officer is satisfied that it is poor driving behaviour rather
than a persistent violator, then the offender could be offered a
Driver Improvement Course. Such offenders should not be sent on
a national speed awareness course. (This would not stop a force
sending those over the 10%+6 to a specific course provided outside
of this national course, or on a course agreed by N-DORS as a specific
Speed awareness - Safety Camera Enforcement
Cases not witnessed by an officer who can use discretion to decide
on the appropriateness of a speed awareness course, automatic enforcement.
If a force accepts speed diversion then:
The police service will consider giving offenders a speed awareness
course at an enforcement threshold somewhere between 10%+2 and 10%+6
if the offender has not had such a course in the last 3 years and
it is considered appropriate and beneficial given the site and prevailing
Any offender captured on Safety Cameras where they are travelling
over the posted speed limit above the ACPO prosecution criteria
of 10%+2, by a speed below their prosecution threshold but not above
the set level of 10%+6, will be offered speed diversion if the site
conditions are suitable.
Speed Awareness Courses will be offered to any driver who meets
the individual force cutoff level within the national band and who
has not previously attended a course within the last 3 years (authenticated
by entry on the DVLA Database). This will not be affected in any
way by a driver's age (assuming they hold a driving licence), gender
or ethnic origin.
Officers will, when initially stopping the driver for the speeding
offence, follow normal procedure in relation to the fixed penalty
notice regarding the recording of age, gender or ethnic origin.
Safety Camera Offices and Ticket Offices will further capture this
information in the process relating to the Notification of Offer
of a Speed Awareness Course.
The ANDISP provider of the Speed Awareness Course will cater for
clients with disabilities or special needs and again take note of
the age, gender and ethnic origin of the client.
This information will be held on record and be available for any
diversity monitoring that may be required at a later date.
National Speed Awareness Course
This course has been designed to explore the possible reasons why
drive exceeded speed limits and to try to prevent future recurrence.
The Association submits two models for consideration as National
Standards. The first is based on a theory only model and will concentrate
on objectives 1 to 6 below. This can be followed by a further practical
module, which will immediately follow the theory class. The practical
model will follow additional objectives 7 and 8.
By the end of the course drivers should be able to identify:
What causes them to speed?
The consequences of misusing speed
Strategies for coping with speed related issues, and
Demonstrate an understanding of the correct use of speed for a variety
1 Develop correct attitudes and behaviour
2 To identify the benefits of compliance with National Speed
3 Ensure drivers leave the course having gained the correct
attitudes and beliefs towards the misuse of speed
4 To recognise different speed limit areas
5 Identify the consequences of speeding - identifying the
benefits and disbenifits of speeding
6 Recognise absolute personal responsibility for speed
7 To develop practical skills to reaffirm their attitude
towards driving at the correct speed subject to the circumstances
8 To facilitate the clients with an opportunity to examine
their attitude towards hazard perception with a view to behavioural
change in practical driving.
Each course MUST cater for no more than 20 clients. It is essential
that clients have the opportunity to input their views and experience
and to take part in-group debate / discussion. By achieving this
clients will take ownership of the content to reach the relevant
The classroom must be a comfortable learning environment with adequate
toilet and refreshment areas. There must be modern electronic presentation
aids to assist with the delivery of the theory sessions.
The course must also cater for a diverse range of clients and be
able to offer tuition to those with disabilities, religious or cultural
needs and be able to accommodate those who's first language is not
To successfully complete the course the clients must:
Attend all sessions
Complete all course paperwork, including any relevant questionnaires
Make a positive contribution
Demonstrate a willingness to make a commitment to improve speed
awareness skills and attitudes
Assurance to clients that anything discussed within the course
is dealt with in the strictest of confidence.
A generic pre-course attitude and perception questionnaire will
be required of each client together with follow-up questionnaire
6 to 12 month's later (timings to be confirmed).
It is recognised at this point that Service Providers will also
want to focus on or give emphasis to issues affecting their location.
The following list is optional and can be added to, but MUST NOT
replace the following syllabus.
Casualty reduction figures
Urban or Rural bias
Local media coverage
Safety camera criteria & effectiveness
Local partnerships, who and why
In addition any course will not make reference to local enforcement
criteria, signage or sites and these vary from area to area.
Service Providers Additional Responsibilities
Service providers will ensure all returns are made to the referring
Police force within 7 working days of those clients who have completed
Where appropriate, if a service provider manages the DVLA data on
behalf of the police force the DVLA are updated within the same
7 day period.
Course presentation - Theory
Theory Session 2.5 hours
No of delegates per course Max 20
Record participant attendance formal register
Check driving licence record endorsements
Check appropriate person attends photo licence or signature
Welcome and introduction of course presenters
Cover Health and Safety and Domestic issues.
Give an outline of course timetable.
An explanation of the partnership between the Police, County Council
and the clients What is required of the clients?
To successfully complete the course the clients must:
Attend all sessions
Complete all course paperwork, including any relevant questionnaires
Make a positive contribution
Demonstrate a willingness to make a commitment to improve speed
awareness skills and attitudes
Assurance to clients that anything discussed within the course is
dealt with in the strictest of confidence
Course aims and objectives
Explanation to clients of course aims and objectives as stated above.
Explanation of the following:
Driver / rider error is a contributory factor in 95% of crashes
Excess speed for the conditions is an error
Those who drive / ride fast regardless of the conditions are 3
5 times more at risk than those who do not
Pedestrians killed / relation to vehicle speed
Where crashes happen motorway / rural / urban (3% - 22% - 75%)
What causes drivers to speed?
To identify what causes drivers to speed
To recognise and address the different causes of speed including
Discussion on speeding
Where were you caught speeding?
How fast were you going?
Did you know youd been caught?
Was the limit relevant?
How did you feel when you received a ticket?
By use of a three intertwined circle model clients are asked to
identify the three driver related areas that can affect the drivers
Relate clients personal reasons for speeding to these three areas
test driving car test riding bike
lapses in concentration When you are angry
going with the flow listening to fast music
racing red mist
being late tailgaters
peer pressure passenger pressure
distractions noble causes
when the roads are quiet unaware of dangers and consequences
speed perception distorted sun blocking speedometer
The consequences of misusing
Clients to recognise the consequences of speeding identifying
the benefits and disbenifits of speeding
To identify and list all consequences which could affect
b) other road users
Clients asked to write down what they think will be the specific
consequences for misusing speed Group discussion
Discuss consequences and recognise their effects on the driver
and other people. Consequences:
Loss of licence Fines
Inconvenience Social effects
Knock on effects with family and Insurance problems friends
Cause to other people through your actions:
Injury Loss of job
Loss of life
This could result in:
Enormous fines Imprisonment
Major psychological effects
But you could also through your actions:
Be injured Lose your job
Lose your life
The use of testimony from those who had suffered as a result of
speeding motorists, by film NOT personal appearance may be used
to good effect. Sarah Smith video available.
The benefits of not speeding Consequences V Benefits.
The client to identify how he/she can cope with the issue that causes
them personally to speed
To identify the coping strategy to: -
2. Deal with personal speed issues
3. Develop a personal plan
4. Address the needs of self-discipline
Each client to note what causes them to speed
Each client to write down how he/she thinks his or her driving behaviour
could be changed to address this causation Clients to share these
ideas with the group
Task 2 These ideas all fit in to the acronym COAST CONCENTRATION
To facilitate clients with an ability to develop their hazard awareness
skills and perception in relation to speed
To offer clients a number of driver related situations in which
they can identify the hazards and relate these to speed awareness
Photographs/DVD clips Pen and paper preferably of local scenes
Displaying a hazard awareness picture, explain to clients the purpose
and process of this exercise.
Divide clients into groups and issue each group with a hazard awareness
picture. Clients to identify the hazards on each picture. Task 2
Full group exercise. Display each hazard awareness picture on OHP
or PowerPoint. Each group to identify their findings and full group
to discuss. Reinforcement
Show DfT DVD This vehicle is travelling at 35 MPH, collides with
child and travels a further 21ft than if it had been travelling
at 30 MPH Note. This is now carried out in line with the DSA Hazard
Perception Testing. The people who developed the filming for the
DSA Hazard Perception Test created the DVDs used. This has proven
to be far more successful than using a static picture as when driving
the focus is changing all the time. This also precludes this exercise
from involving just purely identification and recall. Conclusion
Revisit key topics of the theory session and allow time for question
Who will be the next casualty? If YOU do not change YOUR driving
it could be YOU or it could be YOUR fault even if YOU do not cause
the crash YOU could make it worse or lose the opportunity to avoid
it if YOU are speeding.
YOU are the driver - YOU will get the points - YOU could lose
your licence - YOU could be affected for life.
What each driver is taking away from the course
For each driver to make a personal pledge to watch their speed with
client writing their own pledges.
To assist clients in being able to recognise different speed limit
areas and select a speed appropriate to the road and traffic conditions.
Each client is provided with a written Driver Assessment Sheet
upon which they will be encouraged to improve on all aspects raised
by the Instructor by the end of the course.
By the end of the practical session, clients should:
be able to recognise different speed limit areas
show an enhanced appreciation of the hazards likely to affect
their choice of speed
demonstrate appropriate use of speed
Clients are assigned to an Approved Driving Instructor on a two
to one ratio. There are times when clients will receive one to one
training. Unavoidable circumstances may dictate that some clients
receive training on a three to one ratio, however this is to be
avoided whenever possible.