Academics assess speed awareness courses

Robin Martin

28 January 2013

Speed awareness courses have a “long term impact” on driving behaviour, reveals a new study carried out by academics at Aston Business School.

The independent study was undertaken as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between TTC 2000, the UK’s leading driver awareness training organisation who work with police and local authorities across the country to deliver driver behaviour awareness courses, and academics from Aston University Business School.

The purpose of the KTP project was to develop a rigorous process for assessing the personal benefits for those attending speed awareness courses in order to measure their effectiveness. The courses were introduced by the Government across the UK to re-educate drivers and reduce road casualties as a more constructive alternative to fines or prosecution.

The 18 month study led by Professor Robin Martin from Aston Business School involved interviewing 1,311 motorists attending a speed awareness course who were caught speeding from five police regions between November 2010 and April 2012. Professor Martin and his team carried out a comprehensive review of how people behaved before and after the course, how much they learned and their attitude to the course, including their future intention to positively modify their driving behaviour.

Professor Martin said; “The results clearly show that the speed awareness course led to reliable improvements in client’s attitude to speeding and importantly their intention not to break the speed limit. The benefit of the course occurred immediately and persisted several weeks after course delivery. The speed awareness course led to very reliable improvements in clients’ attitude towards not speeding.”

He added; Many people originally attended the course just to avoid three points on their licence but once they completed the course they felt it was beneficial to their driving technique. A total of 80 per cent said they would attend the course again because they knew they would learn something.”

Des Morrison, Operations Director of TTC Group said of the project; “The KTP project has certainly made a significant strategic contribution to the company’s progress. It has enabled the organisation to remain proactive in the field of ensuring interventions are evidenced based. The rigour and quality of the research has given us a competitive edge.”

The partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP). KTP aims to help businesses and organisations to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base.

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Notes to editor

Professor Martin’s presentation of the report can be viewed at (Part 1) Cara Warburton:

(Part 2) Prof. Robin Martin

Professor Robin Martin is Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology Work and Organisational Psychology Research Group at Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham.

Questionnaires were sent out randomly to motorists who attended a speed awareness course in South Yorkshire, Durham, West Mercia, West Midlands and Mid & South Wales. TTC 2000 course instructors were not aware of who was involved in the survey. All questionnaires were returned to Aston University.

People were asked if a speed awareness course essentially improved their intention not to speed in the future/was it good or bad to speed/could they stick to the speed limit/and was it morally correct to keep within the limit.

The TTC Group instigated and jointly funded the KTP research in partnership with Aston University. However, the project was independently conducted by Cara Donald and Professor Martin but supported by a steering group drawn from key stakeholders.