England

Speeding drivers in Thames Valley opt for courses

Drivers' attitudes are improving even though the number of motorists caught speeding is up, road safety experts in the Thames Valley area say.

The number of offenders rose by 2,000 to 124,000 from 2008/9 to 2009/10.

However the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership said more speeding drivers chose an awareness course instead of a fine and penalty points - a first since the course became an option in 2003.

But the Association of British Drivers said courses were a "waste of time".

Thames Valley Police cover Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

A spokesman for the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership, which includes representatives from local councils and Thames Valley Police, said 2009/10 was the first year more offenders had chosen to sign up for the course rather than accept penalty points.

"These courses are proven to change driver behaviour, making them less likely to re-offend and put others at risk," he said.

Claire Benson, of Thames Valley police, said: "Driver education has become a really important follow-up to enforcement.

"Our aim is to educate rather than alienate drivers."

But Roger Lawson, of the Association of British Drivers, criticised the courses, saying motorists chose them as a "soft option".

"We think they're a waste of time and don't necessarily improve road safety.

"People only take them because they want to get out of the points," he added.

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