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papajuliet
16th Nov 2014, 15:28
Has anyone attended one of these courses? Is it a worthwhile 4 hours or is it just another scam to augment the pensions of retired police officers?

Nopax,thanx
16th Nov 2014, 15:33
I haven't (as a driver of most impeccable lawfulness ;) ) but every report that I have read says they are well worthwhile. Better than a fine and points, and you do actually learn something.

Also, if your insurance company try to bump up your premium after attending one, take your business to a more reputable firm and tell them in no uncertain terms why.

Simplythebeast
16th Nov 2014, 15:33
I attended one in Humberside area a couple of years ago. There were a few cocky types in there too. However after the presentation they were pretty quiet and I think overall it was a worthwhile experience. For those with a few points already on their license it was an even more worthwhile experience.

om15
16th Nov 2014, 15:46
I have recently been clocked at 80 on a dual carriage way, first speed offence for 17 years and so was offered a speed awareness course by Hampshire Constabulary ( ominously called the Summary Justice Division), all correspondence to date has been polite and courteous, the course that I have booked in 2 weeks time is presented by the AA, it has cost £90.00 to attend.
I intend to take full advantage of this refresher training and am sure that it will be informative, it takes 4 hours.
The advantages are that I may learn something from the refresher training, it has cost less than a fine and I don't have any points put on my licence.


If I am disappointed or think that it hasn't been effective I shall report further.


(One bit of information I have deduced from the information so far is that you won't be prosecuted for doing 78 or below in a 70 mph zone)

Loki
16th Nov 2014, 16:16
Yes, mine was OK and generally enjoyable....bit of a rip off IMO, not really £90 worth. Instructor on my course was an ex cop, and had clearly done an instructional techniques course somewhere (having done one myself, I could spot where he was going) but knew his stuff.

Krystal n chips
16th Nov 2014, 16:37
Speed awareness course :

Required: Functional Mk 1 eyeballs.

Check speed limit on large signs by side of road.

Remember national speed limits on Motorways.

Check vehicle speedometer is at, or below, road sign / speed limit.

Result : Save £90 and four hours of your time.

Complex isn't it ?

mixture
16th Nov 2014, 16:45
One bit of information I have deduced from the information so far is that you won't be prosecuted for doing 78 or below in a 70 mph zone

Maybe, maybe not....

But its easier just to not be stupid and set your cruise control to 70 on long low-traffic stretches ....

Tankertrashnav
16th Nov 2014, 16:55
My 82 year old brother got caught speeding on the M4 last year, and elected to do the course. He thought it was quite good, and as he said, he's always looking for new things to do, so it filled in a morning quite well!

Groundgripper
16th Nov 2014, 16:57
I did one just over three years ago as a result of doing 36mph in a 30mph area (if I'd been doing 35mph they wouldn't have bothered on the 10%+2mph allowance) because of inattention and yes, on the whole, it was worth it to avoid getting three points on my licence - it did bring out things I had forgotten and others I wasn't aware of and I even went as far as getting an up-to-date Highway Code (though I'm damned if I can remember where I put it:uhoh:).

Others on the course got much more wrong than I did, some alarmingly so.:eek:

But its easier just to not be stupid and set your cruise control to 70 on long low-traffic stretches
but these are few and far between on the vast majority of the roads these days.:(
GG

RatherBeFlying
16th Nov 2014, 17:13
I got dinged for 120 km/h in an 80 on a rural highway. My cruise control was set to 125 off the speedo; ergo, reads 5 high when over 100.

In some 200K km since then, no more tickets with cruise set to 15 over in the country -- 10 over in town. The many enforcement units encountered were looking for bigger fish of which there is a considerable supply;)

Alberta has lots of speed enforcement. One black car in particular has a habit of lurking in remote byways. The police also have moving radar to clock oncoming vehicles. A few months ago I spotted a police car do a U turn across a median on a major highway to chase after his latest victim.

mixture
16th Nov 2014, 17:13
but these are few and far between on the vast majority of the roads these days.

In which case, you use your Mk 1 eyeballs ... estimating your speed and cross checking against speedo ... its not difficult .... and those who have learnt to fly and hence developed instrument scan techniques whilst also flying VFR have even less of an excuse !

People who speed only have themselves and their own bad habits to blame.

Yes the limits are sometimes frustrating, yes it might sometimes be nicer to be able to drive faster .... but hey, the limits are what they are. Do the crime, pay the fine.

Gertrude the Wombat
16th Nov 2014, 17:31
But its easier just to not be stupid and set your cruise control to 70 on long low-traffic stretches ....
Was lent a car the other day where you could just leave it on 70 for the duration. It would automagically slow down if there was traffic ahead and speed up again when the road cleared. Frightening.

M.Mouse
16th Nov 2014, 17:55
I happen to know quite well someone who has recently qualified to run these courses locally. His own training was intense and he himself is an Advanced Motorcyclist Observer (the name given to those who train other to the advanced test standard).

Some of what he has told me about the woeful lack of knowledge of the MAJORITY of the attendees is quite staggering. Each attendee has an electronic pad with buttons to select an answer when presented with a question. Questions like 'What is the national speed limit on a single carriageway road?' The answers are anonymous but the percentage of the class getting the answer right is shown. Rarely do more than a few get the answers right.

The courses, in my opinion, are a move in the right direction, towards education rather than punishment but my argument is with the proliferation of unrealistic speed limits and the enforcement by camera which of course cannot exercise any discretion.

Checkboard
16th Nov 2014, 18:05
It would automagically slow down if there was traffic ahead and speed up again when the road cleared. Frightening.
Frightening when the car ahead stops at an intersection - and then your car follows it when it goes, regardless of what's approaching from the sides :eek:

1DC
16th Nov 2014, 18:18
Mrs 1DC went on one about a year ago and enjoyed it, she thought it was worthwhile and was actually observant for a couple of days afterwards. Keep your eyes peeled for the gorilla!!

When she checked with her insurance company they told her that they were only interested if she took the points, if she went on the course they didn't need to be told..

chinook240
16th Nov 2014, 18:37
I attended one (35 in a 30, first ever offence in UK) and found it worthwhile. The instructor/tutor started the course by saying most of us would go home faster than we arrived. Won't spoil the reasoning but he was right! Unsurprising the course was full of middle aged people on their first offence, who weren't aware they were speeding.

G-CPTN
16th Nov 2014, 18:43
Daughter was caught recently doing 50 in a newly extended 30 stretch.

No escape - banged to rights by a hidden patrol-car that has been reported as having a field day.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse - even if they've just changed it.

skydiver69
16th Nov 2014, 19:37
om15

( ominously called the Summary Justice Division),

In this case it means summary as in summary offence (max 6m jail, case heard by a magistrate if it gets to court) not either way or indictable.

Gertrude the Wombat
16th Nov 2014, 20:04
proliferation of unrealistic speed limits
Trouble is that realistic ones would be extraordinarily expensive, and nobody wants to pay the extra taxes. Plus really rather nanny-statist, wouldn't you say?

Personally I'm happy with country roads in general having a 60mph speed limit, and city roads in general having a 30mph speed limit, without the necessity to put more realistic, ie lower, limits on every corner, junction, hill, etc.

And one size doesn't fit all anyway. There are corners with 60 limits where in one vehicle it would be perfectly sensible to go round at 40, whereas in others anything over 25 would be daft.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
16th Nov 2014, 20:39
I had a correspondence with the Road Traffic people in Leicester a few years back. Because of accidents, they reduced a 40 limit to a 30, reasoning that most people won't drive more than 10 over the limit. Then, because of a fatal, they installed a speed camera, but did not lift the limit back up to 40.

So, you have a section of road which by their own admission warrants an enforced 40, but in fact has an enforced 30.

They weren't prepared to do anything about the incongruity.

Of course, because that section of road looks like a 40 (and by their own admission, was), people who aren't concentrating tended to drive at 40, and so the camera made no measurable difference to the accident rate but made the Council a lot of money.

And no, I didn't start this correspondence because I got caught; I was just interested. I used the road a lot, and was concerned by the massive braking by people as they noticed the camera, and the two near accidents I observed with people driving too close behind the sudden brakers.

Then of course there is Hints, Staffs. There is a sudden change on a straight road from 50 to 30, and a change back 1 mile later, with no change in any surrounding conditions. Later, a very expensive bypass was built. The houses just inside the 30 limit at each end belonged to Councillors. Sheer coincidence, I'm sure. ;)

papajuliet
16th Nov 2014, 20:54
Interesting replies chaps - I wish I could reach the level of piety of one or two of them!
Just for the record I'm regarded, by all who know me, as a slow driver.
In this instance I was travelling on a dual carriageway with a wide central verge - buildings along the road but lying well back. Speed limit 50mph.Police camera van overtakes me,wife and I make some joking remarks about it and carry on at the same steady speed.
A week later I get the notice - 53mph in a 40mph zone. On checking the road, sure enough the 50 had dropped to 40.
So, I don't regard myself as a speedster but I must brush up on my awareness.
Incidentally it's £80 fee in this area, not £90.
As the alternative is 3 points and £100 fine it's a no brainer as the saying is.
Mind you, on querying the evidence, I have been sent a very nice photograph of my vehicle with self and wife looking like Darby and Joan on a day out.

G-CPTN
16th Nov 2014, 20:55
WRT 30mph limits in towns, these were introduced when towns were relatively free of traffic, and therefore it made sense to restrict vehicles passing through to a 'reasonable' speed.

Now, the 30 mph limit extends way outside the town centre and encompasses the residential districts. With current levels of traffic, vehicles would be hard pushed to reach 30 mph through town centres.

I recently found a video of traffic in London in the 1970s (when I was accustomed to driving through Central London from the north to the south via Edgware Road, Park Lane and Vauxhall Bridge when heading to Brands Hatch):-

VwXQA03MJgE

Capot
16th Nov 2014, 21:03
After being caught n 2010 by a plod with a handheld, stationed in a quiet lane to get his quota, doing 34 in a 30 zone, I was offered a Speed Awareness course, to be held in Reading, by Thames Valley Police (TVP). The letter enclosed the T&Cs. The cost was £75.00, and right at the bottom was a condition that my "attitude" had to improve during the course, failing which the punishment for speeding of a £60 fine and 3 points would be re-imposed, and I would forfeit the cost of the course.

I asked for a course where I live in Devon; this was refused. I pointed out that to attend I would have to leave at 0500, drive for 3 hours or so, attend the 9-hour course including breaks, and then drive for 3 hours to get home, and asked if they thought this was a good idea. "Not our problem", was the essence of the response.

By this time I was getting bolshie, so I asked what criteria were used to assess "attitude", and exactly how would it be assessed before and after the course, both being necessary to measure an "improvement". While we corresponded about this, I looked up the company that was identified as running the course, and naturally it was started by, and consisted entirely of ex-coppers, all from TVP. I ascertained that the course falls under the European Directive for contracts awarded by public bodies, and asked for evidence that the regulations about advertising the tender and selecting the successful bidder had been followed. No reply, so I submitted an FOI request for the same thing. Now, we had two strands of correspondence going and, after I reckoned I had wasted 100 hours of TVP's valuable time, I told them to stuff the course, paid the fine and took the points.

As a point of interest, the Regulations had been blatantly broken, as you might have expected from a Police force.

Fast forward to 2013, caught in a camera trap in Totnes doing 38 in a 30 zone at 2345 one night, offered a Speed Awareness course near Exeter. This time I went along. Two instructors, not ex-coppers, and a quite well-run and marginally interesting 4-hour course.

However, I know, because we run, and make a nice profit running, short classroom courses for technical staff, that the price of this 4-hour course was 3 times what it would be if there were genuine competition to supply it. In other words it was 3 times what we, and all our competitors would charge and make a profit on. So, another triumph for rip-off Britain.

2 sheds
16th Nov 2014, 21:12
Jobs for the boys for ex-coppers. Marginally interesting, somewhat tedious, but a useful way to avoid points on the licence, though at much the same cost as a fine, strangely enough. Did I know what the speed limit is for a lorry on a dual carriageway? No, and I don't care because I don't drive a ****ing lorry!
Frustrating aspect - there is no evidence that any attendee, by definition, has actually done anything hazardous, so perhaps the wrong law-breakers being targetted, i.e. the easy targets.

2 s

Shaggy Sheep Driver
16th Nov 2014, 21:40
There seems to be a tendency to extend 30mph limits way beyond the built up area. One near here extends into open country for about 1.5 miles. Because motorists don't see the need to do 30 in open country they do about 45.

Unfortunately they now continue at this speed into the built up area, whereas when the '30' started where the houses did, it generally got observed (change of situation, change of limit, makes sense). The law of unintended consequences is rarely anticipated by those who set speed limits.

spekesoftly
16th Nov 2014, 21:51
Speed limits painted on the road surface sometimes appear to contradict a pole mounted speed limit sign. I can think of at least two examples of roads where the speed limit was recently changed from 40mph to 30mph. A poor attempt to paint out the previous higher limit has quickly worn or washed away, leaving the original circled 40 marked on the road surface still clearly visible. So you end up with a 40 road surface marking about 10 feet before the new 30 pole mounted sign, and then a number of surface 40s before the end of the new 30mph limit!

Many rural speed limit signs are either obscured by a dark green mould or have become completely hidden from view by overgrown hedges and trees. Drivers long familiar with these roads can probably avoid the confusion, but it certainly doesn't help the speed awarenes of others.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
16th Nov 2014, 22:07
Its harder out here. Speed limit signs are black on white, which stands out really well against snow-covered pines, if the plows haven't flattened them; and there are no road markings left by Spring.

Ah, Signs of Spring, #4 - the car.
http://comps.canstockphoto.com/can-stock-photo_csp0619842.jpg


And the reasons for speeding fines...

http://ericpetersautos.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/porky-last-300x233.jpg

mixture
17th Nov 2014, 11:23
I can think of at least two examples of roads where the speed limit was recently changed from 40mph to 30mph.

I don't think the road markings constitute a "traffic sign", AFAIK the enforceability is provided by the repeater signs, and of course repeater signs are not required in 30 zones.

I do agree with you, however, that in the scenario you put forward it certainly sounds as if the local council should really have done a better job of obscuring the old road markings.

Phalconphixer
17th Nov 2014, 12:31
Shortly after Spain introduced a temporary but mandatory 110kph speed limit on its motorways and dual carriageways, I got pulled by a mobile Radar unit operated by the Guardia Civil Trafficos; not for having exceeded the speed limit on such a motorway but for excessive speed on a deceleration lane / off ramp. Said off ramp had always had an occasionally enforced speed limit of 40kph which started some 200 metres into the off ramp and allowed plenty of time and distance to slow down from motorway speed, but coincident with the introduction of the new national limit, the local authority had moved the Signpost carrying the 40kph limit sign to a point 100 metres closer to the start of the off ramp. This new location was in an area which is screened by trees so the sign was effectively hidden from view until one was actually abeam the signpost.
The Trafficos were notorious for hiding their vehicle in a side road on the right and mounting a remotely operated kerbside radar device at the roadside so everyone ‘in the know’ slowed down before passing the intercept point.
On the day in question, I along with about a dozen others using the off ramp, adopted the usual practice of leaving the motorway at normal motorway speed, braking on the off ramp to pass the intercept point at 40kph… nett result we passed the newly replaced signpost / new intercept point at around 60-65kph. That was Day 1… we were all stopped by a second GC unit further up the off ramp and all handed speeding tickets 65kph in a 40 limit brought in a mandatory 300 Euro fine, discounted by 50% for immediate payment.
In the space of less than two or three minutes the GC had issued fines worth over 3000 Euros. I didn’t have 150Euros in my pocket at the time and the GC ‘s card reader was strangely out of service. At least half of those pulled at the same time as me were escorted by yet another GC unit to a nearby ATM… Having paid my fine and got a printed signed and stamped receipt, out of curiosity I returned to a point close by where offending traffic was being pulled over for ‘interviews’ and watched the proceedings for over an hour… Virtually everyone who left the motorway via the off ramp was pulled over and fined. The GC ran a virtual shuttle service to the ATM for those like myself without immediate cash reserves to pay the fine. The GC issued fines approaching 50,000 Euros during that period. On Day2 I passed the same spot twice and the GC were still in attendance. It’s my guess that the GC / Spanish Exchequer received over 1,000,000 euros during that two day operation.
The whole point of the deceleration lane has been negated by the repositioning of the speed limit sign; it is now necessary to initiate ones braking action whilst still on the motorway, much to the disgust of the through traffic HGV’s and coaches who are stuck in Lane 1. Woe betide anyone who starts braking without simultaneously indicating their intention to leave the motorway… 44 tonnes of articulated heavy bearing down on you from behind doesn’t bear thinking about!
One last little point on this story, the GC are no longer permitted to take cash in payment of on the spot fines; Credit or Debit Cards are acceptable, alternatively residents have up to 15 days to make payment on-line with the 50% discount.

Oops Aviation Content! just for the hell of it!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v13/foxbat/Speedingresized_zpsac3fee44.jpg

1DC
17th Nov 2014, 12:32
After a bad accident on one of our local country roads the speed limit was put down to 50mph. The road was closed for three days while road markings were changed. 50 was painted on the road at regular intervals. The road re opened and a notice was put in the paper to advise that because the 50mph road signs had not been installed the speed limit could not be enforced until they were. Apparently 50 painted on the road means sweet fa if official 50 speed signs aren't in place as well..

simon brown
17th Nov 2014, 13:12
"100 mph in a Trans-Am is like doing 30 mph in a Euro car"

Until you come across something called a slight bend..then the cart springs coupled with 7Litres of pig iron don't exactly come into their own

Diesel_10
17th Nov 2014, 14:14
A bit off thread but recently got caught in Southern France by a Radar Box. Banged to rights, fair enough 138 Kph in a 130. Now the story doesn't stop there, why a Radar Box is needed to enforce the National Max Limit - can't be for safety on a risky bit of road can it?? Anyways, I get a letter back in the UK from the Gendarmerie stating 4 options:
1. Pay a €40 Fine.
2. Contest it but run the risk of €120 fine
3. Go to court (lol!)
4. Submit details of mitigation. Believe it or not, this includes having a licence from a non-reciprocal arrangement State. Such as Spain, Slovenia, Hungary, Sweden etc etc.

So a Spaniard driving in France in a Hire Car gets no fine or if they know his address, probably will never hear another thing. A Frenchman driving a Spanish Registered car gets no notification (as would not an Englishman).

Post Script, AVIS charged me €38 for providing my address FFS ?!!!

So fellow travellers......if motoring in France, don't get a Hire Car from Avis (please read their T&Cs for if you commit an offence - admin charges not mentioned, you just sign away your rights to them extracting what they like from your Credit Card !!). Walk around the hire car parking area and pick a Spanish Registered car instead.

603DX
17th Nov 2014, 14:54
I'm now in my 53rd year of driving without any speeding points on my licence, so I guess that I'm living on borrowed time, sooner or later an unguarded moment may spoil my unblemished record. To date, a mixture of sensible attention to speed limit signs and a little low cunning that comes with age, has helped to preserve the status quo.

However, spekesoftly's comments about obscured signs on unfamiliar roads ring true with me:
Many rural speed limit signs are either obscured by a dark green mould or have become completely hidden from view by overgrown hedges and trees. Drivers long familiar with these roads can probably avoid the confusion, but it certainly doesn't help the speed awareness of others.
When returning home at night after visiting friends in Sussex, my usual route was diverted by unexpected roadworks, so I had to make a wide detour onto tree-lined roads I had never used before. Darkness and heavy rain didn't help visibility, and I was quite shocked to trigger the flash of a Gatso camera that I was not expecting. Resigned to expect an envelope through the post before long, I was relieved when this didn't appear (this was many months ago). So I presume that either my speed was not excessively above the limit, or that the camera wasn't loaded and the flash was still left operating as a shock warning. If so, it worked! My heartbeat took quite a while to calm down to normal. And for the rest of the journey I thought about opting for the speed awareness course option if offered. :hmm:

Shaggy Sheep Driver
17th Nov 2014, 15:47
Police camera van overtakes me,wife and I make some joking remarks about it and carry on at the same steady speed.
A week later I get the notice - 53mph in a 40mph zone.

So it's OK for the police camera van to have been over the speed limit by even more than you were?

G-CPTN
17th Nov 2014, 16:30
I was quite shocked to trigger the flash of a Gatso camera that I was not expecting.
either my speed was not excessively above the limit, or that the camera wasn't loaded and the flash was still left operating as a shock warning.
You can trigger a 'facing' camera (which is not 'authorised' - unless it is a Truvelo (http://www.speedcamerasuk.com/truvelo.htm)).

papajuliet
17th Nov 2014, 17:50
SSD -on reflection I'm convinced that it was the distraction of the Police camera van which caused me to miss the 40mph sign!
Be that as it may, I completed the course this afternoon. Not the most interesting 4 hours of my life but it was well put together and I've no complaints except that I feel it was more weighted to habitual speeders rather than those who accidently exceed the designated limit.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
17th Nov 2014, 18:10
Motorcyclists are, of course, immune from forward facing cameras. But if you take the pi55, like this chap, they will track you down!

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b132/GZK6NK/rtfingers.jpg (http://s18.photobucket.com/user/GZK6NK/media/rtfingers.jpg.html)

probes
17th Nov 2014, 18:16
actually I wonder - what happens there during the 4 hours?
When the message to deliver is really simple: thou shalt obey the laws.

And no, I haven't. Been caught (yet).

edited to add:
P.S - Papajuliet seems in authority to reminisce! :)

G-CPTN
17th Nov 2014, 18:18
the GC are no longer permitted to take cash in payment of on the spot finesI wonder why . . .

BigEndBob
17th Nov 2014, 19:08
Zapped doing 36 in a 30. Busy positioning motorbike into correct lane approaching traffic lights, save having to go all around the block again, on a three lane oneway system. I thought limit 40. So took the option.
36 in the room each paid £85 and the second course that day.
Interestingly three quarters were zapped by the same camera.
Four hour course in which all could be done in say hour and half.
Brief written questionaire that did get you thinking.
I think only me and one other could draw a stop and give way sign correctly!
Observational test (No speed cameras were shown!) using photos pretty straighforward.
Did i come away with anything useful.
Yes, no points on my clean licence..thats about it.

superq7
17th Nov 2014, 21:40
I went on the course last year for being a few mph over the limit (big deal) the most boring :mad: four hours of my life.

parabellum
17th Nov 2014, 22:12
Frustrating aspect - there is no evidence that any attendee, by definition, has actually done anything hazardous, so perhaps the wrong law-breakers being targetted, i.e. the easy targets

I think the real 'baddies' don't get the option of the course, they get prosecuted.

om15
6th Dec 2014, 11:33
Attended a speed awareness course yesterday, cost £90 and took 4 hours, the alternative to 3 points and a fine.
The course was run by two ex coppers, they made every attempt to be laid back and kept a light atmosphere, they were polite and humorous throughout.
I haven't read the highway code since about 1973 and most of the content of the course was completely new to me, either I had never known the regs or had just forgotten, I do about 25K business miles a year.
I found the course informative, some good safety gen and a really good driving refresher. The point was made that many other aspects of our lives require constant refresher training, in our jobs for example, but not driving.
This course was run in Hampshire by the AA, there are short refresher courses for £30 that can be attended on a voluntary basis.
As a motorcyclist I am very keen to stay alive as much as possible, so this was a good course, and I recommend to those of a certain age that haven't had any training for several decades that it might be an idea to have a voluntary refresher, if only to be able to read the road markings and be aware of what the signs mean.
I was nicked breaking the law and Hampshire Constabulary dealt with this in a very sensible and pro active way, rather than just treating it as a source of revenue.

olympus
6th Dec 2014, 12:38
G-CPTN wrote:-
I recently found a video of traffic in London in the 1970s (when I was accustomed to driving through Central London from the north to the south via Edgware Road, Park Lane and Vauxhall Bridge when heading to Brands Hatch):-

Actually it's from 1968 ('Sweet Charity' with Gretchen Wyler was on at the Prince of Wales Theatre and that was '68); and I quite enjoyed watching it. Amazing the number of BMC Minis and 1100/1300s and other long-forgotten models on the road. (Too much time, I know...)