Record number of drivers take retraining courses

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More than 1.4 million drivers attended retraining courses in 2017 -- the highest number on record and almost a million more than in 2010, when the courses were introduced.

The vast majority of offenders were sent on the National Speed Awareness Course.

In total there are now nine courses available, including the new National Motorway Awareness Course and Whats Driving Us?, which is offered to drivers who commit offences including using a mobile phone when driving.

Courses are offered at the discretion of the police as an alternative to penalty points and a fine. The focus is on changing driving behaviour and attitudes, with the aim of preventing motorists re-offending.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The emergence of so many courses partly reflects the increasing complexity of the road network and rise in restrictions drivers now face.

"From 20 mph zones in towns to variable speed limits on motorways, the rules of the road are growing in type and number, and there now seems to be a course to match every eventuality.

"The record number of courses run last year could be topped this year as police step up enforcement of Red X signals on motorways."

The retraining courses are managed by the National Driver Offender Retraining scheme, but are run by private companies. Drivers pay a fee to attend the course, and some of this money goes back to the police force where the offence took place, to cover the cost of processing the offence.

According to Auto Express, the amount of money police forces are given for each driver taking a course went up last September from £35 to £45, generating an estimated £54m for police each year.

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