Why a speed education course should be the law

By Wade O'Leary on 11 August 2017
An innovative speed awareness education program developed in the United Kingdom as a one-off alternative to speeding motorists getting a fine should be introduced in NSW to help reduce the road toll.

The NRMA wants the NSW Government to adopt a Speed Awareness Course for fully-licensed drivers with a clean driving record caught speeding by 10 km/h or under. Seven News reported on what the proposal would mean for motorists, and this can be viewed below.
The course would act as a one-off substitute to the driver getting a $116 fine and one demerit point per three year cycle.

NRMA Chairman Kyle Loades said while the NRMA was a strong supporter of the NSW Government’s strategy to reduce the road toll through enforcement, new and innovative education programs should also play a part in saving lives.

“Speeding drivers are putting their lives and the lives of others at risk and with over 40 per cent of fatalities in NSW attributed to speeding, it is clear more needs to be done to slow drivers down,” he said.

“On current trends the Government is not going to reach its target of a 30 per cent reduction in the road toll by 2020: in fact, current statistics show that they are approximately 120 lives short of meeting this goal.

“We must continue to support the work of NSW Police and the role of speed cameras in slowing people down, but the NRMA also strongly believes that enforcement must be coupled with education in order to have a lasting impact on the road toll.

“That’s why the NRMA wants the Government to adopt this innovative approach to driving road safety messages home to low-range speeders: by doing the course the driver, who must have a clean record, saves money and a demerit point – but the course might just save their life and others.”

A classroom style half-day course would be designed to drive home important safety messages to speeding drivers.

The UK model saw over 1.2 million drivers take part in 2015 alone with the overwhelming majority (99%) saying the course changed their driving habits.

The proposal was part of the NRMA’s 2012 Three-Point Plan to Tackle Bad Drivers: the other two initiatives – more visible highway patrols and alcohol interlocks for high range drink drivers – have been adopted by the Government.

The approach was endorsed by the NSW Police Association and the NSW Opposition and is now being considered by the NSW Government, ahead of the completion of a survey of UK course participant driver behaviour in August and the tabling of Staysafe committee recommendations in NSW Parliament in September.

According to the Office of the State Revenue, almost 98 per cent of the 253,896 fines issued in NSW this year for exceeding the speed limit by 10 km/h or under were issued to drivers of Class A vehicles – that is, cars compared to trucks or buses – and 101,000 of the motorists fined had clean driving records for the three previous years, with 46,328 boasting no prior offences going back for a decade or more.

In addition, the 2017 State Budget showed revenue from fines increased to $605 million from $581 million over the previous financial year.