Speed awareness course or fine and three points?

9 Aug 2006
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United Kingdom
At the risk of coming across as an arrogant prat, here is the background:

During the 37 years I’ve been driving I’ve spent 12 years riding motorcycles and have driven 3 ton trucks with air brakes, a wide variety of cars and vans including driving for delivery firms and car hire firms, minibuses and around 3 years living and driving in France including an entire ski season and several holidays driving on snow in the Alps. I have completed the IAM driving course and been told that my technical driving skills are excellent but that I would not pass the IAM test because I am not adhering to the set “system” of sequences of actions on approaching a road hazard. I have extensive off-road driving experience in the UK and Africa and have driven high-performance cars on a race track. During those 37 years I have never had an accident although I have been rear-ended once so I think I can claim I’m a reasonably experienced and safe driver.

Now, the offence: very early indeed on a Sunday morning. The northerly Blackburn ring road used to be the only trunk route available to drivers heading from the big catchment area of north Manchester, Rossendale, Burnley, Nelson, Colne and anywhere east towards Preston and the M6 but has now been superseded by the newer M65 motorway to the south of the town so it is now a mostly forgotten suburban dual-carriageway that is deserted apart from the odd car using its adjoining streets for access to residential estates. The section in question is wide, almost straight for a mile and has no houses or side roads, good sightlines, wide verges and a good surface. The signed speed limit is 50 mph. There is a GATSO camera right in the middle of the section, which has been repeatedly vandalised over the years and was even sawn down recently. It was re-erected but the calibration marks on the road were worn out and presumably useless as the few bits of paint visible were only at the very edges of the road. The road is completely empty, not another vehicle in sight anywhere and it is a clear dry morning. I’m driving down this empty, wide road and I am FULLY AWARE that my speed is a little over 60 mph, which in my judgement is a reasonable speed for that road at that time. I would add here that I am generally a conscientious driver and that I choose my speed to be appropriate for the conditions and hazards, meaning that I am often driving at 20 mph or even less in congested and residential areas. Suddenly I realise that the calibration lines on the road have been re-painted and sure enough, as I pass the camera I see the two flashes.

So now I have the choice: to attend a speed awareness course or pay the fixed penalty and accept three points.

Here is where I will sound arrogant: if I choose to attend the course, I feel there will be an element of pointlessness in my attendance because I knew exactly what speed I was doing and I was completely aware that I was breaking the posted speed limit and therefore the law. I feel I am being penalised for having ignored the camera, not for having driven recklessly or dangerously like some of the scum who race up my street endangering our kids. If I choose to pay the fine and accept the three points I am taking the penalty fair and square on the chin, even though I believe strongly that 60 mph would be the appropriate speed for that stretch of dual-carriageway.

On the other hand I know people who have attended the course and they say it was genuinely interesting and even enjoyable and I also don’t really want the three points on my hitherto clean licence.

As I wrote above, I understand that there’s a chance of coming across as arrogant here but I am perfectly happy to admit that I broke the law on that morning.

What is the forum’s view on this? If it is to post: “you broke the law, now pay the penalty” please don’t bother, thanks. I’ve already admitted that I did that.
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I think a full and frank speed awareness course should be mandatory for every driver, prior to passing test and obtaining licence.
Everyone should be made fully and graphically aware of what a high speed crash can do to a human skull and its contents, or the mess left in the road after a 40mph impact with a child... Only the most foolish would speed after seeing that.
You can choose where to do the course - potentially keeps the costs down.

That's the cost bit out of the way.
Fully sympathise with your situation and no, you do not come across as arrogant. However, why incur points when you don't need to?
Better to eat a slice of the old humble pie and spend half a day keeping your licence clean. You will actually learn the odd thing or two.

What will alarm you is the lack of even the most basic road safety knowledge of some of the other attendees - and their sheer arrogance.
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Whilst the points on wont effect your insurance, the next points may. I would go on the course.
But whilst saying that if you have to take a day off work & lose £1000 thats different
the last thing you want is points it could happen again
As speeding is whats known as a absolute offence technically, 1 MPH over the posted speed, you are breaking the law. To travel 10 MPH over knowing that you were relying on the road markings being unreadable, is rather pushing it a bit, take it on the chin and pay up.

I believe strongly that 60 mph would be the appropriate speed for that stretch of dual-carriageway

Qualified to make the law are you?
You knew the camera was there, you insisted to speed.

It seems a good idea to attend a course - anyone who goes over the proscribed limits need reminding or informing about the possible consequences of travelling in large pieces of metal at velocities which have been pre-determined by common law.
Take the course deffo because if you don't and you get caught again in a similar situation then it's now 6 points and a hike in insurance.

The speed awareness course I took in December was the biggest pile of w_ank i've ever attended, and I honestly went with an open mind.

I did take the instructor for a spin in my car after the course finished who said "Go on, open it up a bit"

You do know this is gonna turn into a 6 page thread about how speeding is bad, can't do the time don't do the crime etc etc... ;) Lots of Prius drivers on here matey. :D
It seems a good idea to attend a course - anyone who goes over the proscribed limits need reminding or informing about the possible consequences of travelling in large pieces of metal at velocities which have been pre-determined by common law.....

in 1967 when cars had tyres made out of sperm and brakes made out of biscuits ;)
Go on the coarse, what is it an afternoon? Once when i was trucking for Asda, i was en route for a store in Cornwall was going down the A30, on a hill 5 miles to my left were a flock of sheep on a hill to my right were a few ponies, at the bottom of the hill hideing behind a hedge were a couple of PIGS sat in a car with their speed detector, you know what its like down in Corwall, up hill down dale, so i'm going down the hill just useing the exhaust brake doing 62mph, on a duel carriage way hgv's speed limit is 50mph, they pulled me over and this spotty faced teenager started reading the gospel to me, i kept quiet, took the points and the union payed the fine, so moral to this story, join the union, pay a few extra quid and no more fines. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
I keep a clean licence but would not go on one of these courses out of principal as they are just moneyspinners for ACPO.

This is a PRIVATE company where ex police officers shove their nose in the trough.

I would take three points happily.
They also run Bikesafe, some in their spare time and increase your road awareness.
Save lives.

So much for the small fee they charge and this is a voluntary course, not one for any charges what so ever.
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