ROAD safety bosses has welcomed a study which shows speed awareness courses reduce re-offending rates.

The data was analysed by market research firm ISPOS Mori and Leeds University who worked with police forces across England from between 2012 and 2017 and showed drivers who participated in the National Speed Awareness Course - which is offered to offending motorists in Essex - are between 12 and 23 per cent less likely to reoffend within six months.

Figures drop to between nine and 17 per cent within a year, nine and 11 per cent in the first two years and six and 13 per cent within three years.

Separate research carried out for the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) shows drivers who attend an NSAC course in the county are 34 per cent less likely to reoffend.

The course is offered to motorists who commit low level speeding offences as an alternative to a fine and three points on their licence.

Last year 1,195,356 offenders across the country attended the course, which costs £100.

SERP's driver improvement manager Sally Plail said:“We welcome the rigorous scrutiny applied by the independent researchers and analysts to the content and delivery of the NSAC.

“The courses help drivers to be more aware of the speeds they choose and what might stop them from driving within the speed limit.

“They seek to provide drivers and riders with information that can help them make changes to the speeds they choose, how they use the road and how they think about risk.

“It is important to remember every driver caught speeding will have chosen to participate in a course.

“The courses keep low-level offenders out of the penalty system, instead showing why speed limits matter and encouraging honest reflection and discussion in an entirely non-judgemental way.

“What participants do in the days and months that follow their course is up to them, and a course cannot force change on a driver unwilling to accept it.

"But the report shows that of the participants leaving the courses with good reasons for obeying speed limits, a majority had the desire to change their behaviour, too.”

Other courses offered by SERP cover driver alertness, 20mph speed limits, motorway speed awareness, seatbelts, driving behaviour, and motorcyclist behaviour.