So far, almost 800 a month are choosing education over penalty in a scheme run by Thames Valley Police in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
Three months after the launch of the Speed Awareness Scheme launched by the police force, 2,000 drivers a month, 38% of them fleet drivers, have opted for the workshop course run by driver training company DriveTech (UK) – a take-up of 92%. The aim of the course is to improve driving skills, attitude and behaviour in order to enhance the safety of motorists and other road users.
Since the end of July motorists caught speeding in the Thames Valley region are considered for one of two courses depending on the severity of the offence.
Inspector Malcolm Collis, head of specialist units, Thames Valley Roads Policing, said: 'Although it's still early days, the feedback from clients is very positive and the take up rate for both the low and high speed courses is amazingly high.
'Until we can fully evaluate the long-term effects on driver behaviour we can't say if this is the way forward but I suspect it is. I see it as education in action, which complements the enforcement strategy we have at the roads policing department.'
DriveTech (UK) founder Chris Howell added: 'The motivation for people to attend is not to have three points on their licence in the case of low speeders, while for high-speed offenders the motivation is to keep penalties to a minimum.
'While attendees are very apprehensive at the start of their course, the feedback is positive. Faced with a £60 fine and three points on their licence or the alternative of £65 for the workshop, some people tell us it is the best £5 they have spent.'
Drivers will not be given the option of a course if they have attended one in the past three years. And in extreme cases of excessive speed, motorists will have to go to court.
Driving workshops offered instead of a fine
TWO courses are run under the Thames Valley Police initiative for speeding drivers. Course One is a workshop for speeders recorded marginally over the speed limit in a 30mph zone. This may be extended to other speed limits depending on demand.
Instead of a £60 fixed penalty fine and three licence points, a three-hour interactive course at a cost of £65 is offered.
Course Two is for those speeding excessively over the limit which would place them outside the fixed penalty bracket and liable for a court summons, a fine of up to £1,000 and the possibility of a driving ban or six penalty points.
Instead, a four-hour interactive course is offered, including a two-hour on-the-road practical session with a trainer, at a cost of £85. A £60 fine and three penalty points would also be incurred.