Are driver awareness courses a good idea or not?
Do they really make British roads safer?
At the moment, there seems to be a lack of reliable evidence when it comes to the above questions, about whether driver awareness and speed reduction programmes actually work.
These programmes were introduced as an alternative way of dealing with motoring offences and have been in use since 2006.
Most of the courses throughout the UK are carried out by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS), on behalf of the police.
Last year, a total of 1.4 million people took part in a course – three times more than in 2010. This figure is much larger than the overall motoring offence prosecutions made across England and Wales in 2014 – 591,000.
Of the 1.4 million attendees, 1.2 million took part in speed awareness courses.
The courses, run by NDORS, were designed by road safety experts, a number of police officers, transport academics and behavioural change psychologists.
According to NDORS, the courses have been established using the latest research, have also been appraised and are ‘fit for purpose’.
In 2011, an evaluation was carried out by ACPO, who at the time was the Association of Chief Police Officers. They determined that motorists who had taken part in a speed awareness course, showed a ‘positive change in attitude’ afterwards.
NDORS says that they have received ‘many accolades’ relating to their courses and in 2012, they won the Prince Michael International Road Safety Premier Award.
“We are not naive enough to think that the courses will stop all negative driving behaviour for all attendees, so our desired outcome is to try and re-educate as many as possible.” Said the organisation.
NDORS claim that a massive “98% of first-time offenders do not reoffend over a five-year period”.
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