Some speeding drivers are offered a ‘get-out-of-jail free’ card which means their insurers never find out they have been caught on camera.
Drivers snapped breaking the limits in several counties are invited to attend ‘speed awareness courses’ if they are trapped travelling at 9mph or less over the speed limit and have no points on their licence in the past three years.
Offending motorists who meet the criteria can attend a four-hour course with coffee; costing an average £65, with the promise that their driving licences stay clean and their insurance companies are not told that they have committed any traffic offence.
Drivers are told that unless they are asked directly by an insurer whether they have attended a speed awareness course, keep quiet, and no one will find out.
Points on licences are one factor that makes car insurance more expensive for drivers and many who attend the courses save £100 or more on insurance costs over the time, the endorsement remains on their driving licence.
The ‘no points’ policy for speeding convictions could also influence decisions made by employers and car hire companies.
Car insurers have no way of checking a driver’s record
This means car insurers have no way of checking a driver’s record; even though most policies have a catch-all clause that states drivers must disclose any ‘material’ information that might affect car insurance cover.
The Staffordshire Police web site advertising the course tells drivers:
“Remember, if you are eligible and elect to take the Speed Awareness Course, you do not have to pay the fine, you won’t get the penalty points and above all, you don’t have to tell your insurance company because the speeding offence is cancelled.”
The Insurance Blogger has inside information that one driver caught speeding at 69mph in a 60mph limit has been let off by one police force after attending a course. Many other drivers who attend the courses break the limits in 30mph and 40mph zones.
Speed awareness courses are delivered by a firm called Drivetech, which is a subsidiary of motorists’ organisation The AA. The course has no pass or fail; drivers just have to turn up and participate for the four hours.
The courses are offered by 12 police forces across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.