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Dr Fiona Fylan presents the new-look National Speed Awareness Course, and explains why it’s so important that clients enjoy being there


THE 2018 update to the National Speed Awareness Course is progressing well, thanks in no small part to some of the ideas and suggestions made by trainers, coaches and instructors.

   A review is carried out every three years, and the last review to the course (known as NSAC) was in 2015; hence the significant attention the course is receiving at the moment.

   The first steps for this, as for any review, involve a good look at the evidence base. We needed to know if there was anything new in understanding of driver behaviour and effective ways of changing it.

   Armed with the latest academic research, we ran a trainer panel, which included representatives from the NSAC and NSAC20 courses. Our task on the panel was to work together to identify the best of both courses that we could bring into the new NSAC 2018 course. 

   We found that the course in its present form was very long, and as it was delivered for the most part using Powerpoint, there was a real danger of the process becoming tedious , not just for clients but for trainers too. With the new couse, we wanted to include a wider range of resources to draw on. For example video was already being used in some parts of the country, and had had good feedback (you can read more about how we produced our stopping distances video on the next page). 

   There was also a situation where different trainers were using different techniques for explaining the physics involved in stopping distances, with a lot of the workings-out done using page after page of flipcharts. Well, we wanted to make it more engaging and easier for trainers to deliver, resulting in what will hopefully be a much more enjoyable experience.

   As of right now we have a first draft of the materials that went to pilot. We ran the pilot course twice with two sets of clients in mid June. These were people who disclosed they had been speeding at levels that would have led to a course offer if they had been caught. They went through the usual screening process, and we ensured they would have been eligible to attend. 

   We invited four very experienced trainers to deliver the two courses, and ensured there were experts from UKROEd and from external organisations in the room to observe and advise.

   Getting all the feedback together from the expert panel at the end of each course was quite a challenge. Everyone had lots of ideas, but it was quite a task to facilitate. In the end, there were really only minimal changes and minor corrections to make. Everyone put forward what they thought worked well as well as what might not have worked.

   So, what happens next? All the instructors need to be trained now, and that process will take place between July and September. The instructors will go through a two-day course in small groups (maximum size 12), during which they will develop a thorough understanding of the course content and its psychological principles. We will equip them with the materials they need to run their own courses for the trainers in the weeks leading up to the launch date of 1 November. A lot of people need training so it’s a real challenge for providers to make that happen!

   In summary, we are excited to be launching what we believe to be a much improved course. It’s great that the current course received a ringing endorsement from the highly-respected Ipsos MORI research group, but the new course takes quality, relevance and enjoyment to new levels. It will be a lot more client focused and a lot more interactive. Clients will be encouraged to take more responsibility for their own learning, and share this with other people. 

   I’m excited to see it all taking shape and I want people on the course to have fun. Yes, it should be fun. Road safety is of course a serious topic, but it doesn’t need to be delivered in a serious way. If people are enjoying being there, then they’re more willing to see and absorb a different point of view. 


“I really enjoyed it. It made me quite aware of how ignorant I can be about speed issues.”

“I have been on a course once before, about five years ago. With this new course, things have changed for the better.”

“It went very well for me. The two presenters kept it going, plus it was lots of information that stimulated my thoughts and memory.”

“It made me think about what happens when you’re driving.”

“The points relating to stopping distances really hit home. I only passed my test last year but I had forgotten loads, so this was time well spent.