Minor driving offences could be heavily penalised as motorists will not have the option to choose a speed awareness course over securing a fine. This could cause motorists to be issued with driving bans for simple errors if they exceed the maximum 12 point threshold.
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Motoring lawyer Nick Freeman has warned the shutdown will cause many motorists to be issued with the strict penalties which could have further consequences.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Motorists should be aware that minor transgressions which may have previously resulted in a speed awareness course may now result in a penalty points and fines.
“These speed awareness courses have always been discretionary – there is no automatic entitlement.
“But most constabularies offer them. However, as they are currently not an option, drivers convicted of speeding in these circumstances will get points and a fine.”
Mr Freeman says the UK Road Offender Education is working with police forces and course providers to establish options to deal with motorists who have already been offered the courses.
Speed awareness courses have been suspended for 12 weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic to sow the spread of the disease and encourage motorists to stay at home.
Offenders must be invited into a speed awareness course by a police officer and you can only attend once every three years.
Most police forces offer drivers the course instead of issuing penalties for minor offences and the suspension of courses will have a major effect for some.
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The sessions are popular among motorists as drivers will avoid picking up points by attending.
Recent figures from the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme show almost 1.5million motorists decided to take a course rather than add points to their licence.
The data is a threefold increase over the past nine years when just 467,000 drivers decided to attend the course over securing penalty points.
The courses usually cost between £80 and £100 but motorists will not be required to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice or pick up penalty points.
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According to Confused.com the courses are designed to change your attitude towards breaking the speed limit.
They intend to male you more aware of the risks of speeding and the impact this can have on other road users.
Courses usually last a few hours and there is no test or driving element to the programme.
Data from the RAC Foundation revealed 44 percent of all speeding offences in England and Wales led to someone being sent on a speed awareness course.
Penalty points can have major implications for car insurance penalties and motorists may find premiums increase after breaking the law.
This is because car insurance agreements are based on a motorists overall perceived risk of having a car crash or incident.
Those with higher penalty points on their licence are considered to be at higher risk and therefore are likely to pay more for cover.
GoCompare says road users do not need to tell their car insurance provider they have been on a speed awareness course unless they ask you.
In some severe cases your premiums could rise after attending a course but this is likely to be dramatically cheaper than with penalty points on your licence,
Insurers take into account any conversions such as penalty points for up to five years after the offence which could be a major blow to many.
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