Road traffic lawyers, like myself have been crying out for speed awareness courses for years but at last someone with some authority is asking about speed awareness course in Scotland and encouraging training and NOT speeding fines and penalty points to be handed out by the police.
Now speeding drivers in Scotland- May Be Offered Training or if not they should get a road traffic lawyer on board for some free initial case advice. As a road traffic lawyer, I have been banging on about it for years but it seems that finally Government officials are considering speed awareness courses in Scotland instead of fines and penalty points.
It was reported in the Scotsman today that, transport minister Derek Mackay has told Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell that he “supported the concept of driver education as an alternative to prosecution where appropriate”.
English clients and drivers who have been pulled over by the police in England have long extolled the virtues of training instead of fines and points. We all know that points are extremely punitive for low level speeding cases. They impact insurance premiums for years and build up to a threatening “totting up” ban for those drivers who accumulate 12 or more within a 3 year period.
Many motorists spend most of their working day on the road and we have several clients past and present who do not consider it unusual to do 40 thousand miles a year. That is about 4 times the national average so if those people are on the road for that amount of time you can expect that on occasion they may drift over the speed limit so it has long been my personal view that points should not be the automatic consequence of low level speeding but a speed awareness course should be.
Such courses are seen as being popular and successful in reducing re-offending south of the Border, but are not currently available in Scotland.
The minister said officials were discussing whether they would be “an appropriate addition to our efforts to tackle road traffic offences in Scotland and what barriers might exist to setting them up.”
It was reported that Ms Mitchell said she had asked the Scottish Government to consider it following an increase in the number of speeders caught under a crackdown by Police Scotland.
She said the introduction of courses could coincide with the planned 20mph limit across much of Edinburgh.
Ms Mitchell said: “Given the increase in traffic convictions, it is surely time to consider an alternative for those who are not significantly over the speed limit.
“Offering speed awareness courses would be a more effective alternative to points and a hefty fine.
“Motorists – many of whom rely on their car for work and family – consider they are being disproportionately targeted by overzealous crackdowns.
“I’m glad therefore that the Scottish Government is now looking at this in an effort to put in place a fairer system which prioritises safer driving.”
Policy and research director Neil Greig, who is part of a Scottish Government-led group considering the move, said: “The IAM are long-time supporters of alternatives to prosecution but progress has been slow as we try to convince the Advocate General’s office that speed awareness courses work and cut re-offending.
My clients often report that these course are Not an easy option, particularly when they are based in England and Scottish drivers require to attend the courses in the region of England where the offence took place.
Speed awareness course could give Police Scotland a useful extra disposal for drivers who are just over the limit without adding to the administrative burden of courts, fiscals or the police.
If you get pulled over for speeding in Scotland and you need the advice of a road traffic lawyer then please give us a call. You can receive preliminary advice over the telephone, without charge, from one of our legal team or come into our office in Glasgow for a detailed Caseplanner(TM) Meeting where we will examine your case in detail and give you a breakdown of the Costs-v- Benefits of defending it and the chances of winning the case.
In the meantime have a look at our short video about what to look for in a road traffic lawyer and how to choose a road traffic law specialist lawyer