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Road Safety Act 2006

Section 34: Penalty points

107.This section inserts into the RTOA new sections 30A, 30B, 30C and 30D. These have the effect of enabling courts to offer persons convicted of the offences of careless, and inconsiderate driving, failing to comply with traffic signs or speeding, the opportunity to pay for and undertake a retraining course in certain circumstances where the driver is not to be disqualified but is to have his licence endorsed with penalty points. The circumstances are that there should be at least 7 and no more than 11 points to be taken into account at the time of conviction. Where a person successfully completes a course within ten months of the date of the order, twelve months after the date of the order 3 points (or fewer if the court endorsed fewer) relating to the conviction will cease to be taken into consideration under section 29 of the RTOA (penalty points to be taken into account on conviction). Effectively this would mean that the points were no longer to be considered for the purposes of the "totting-up" provisions of section 35 of the RTOA. (Where the total number of points on the licence is 12 or more the licence holder is liable to disqualification under section 35 of the RTOA (disqualification for repeated offences)).

108.The option will not be available to any person who has committed one of the offences mentioned above in the previous three years and successfully completed an approved course pursuant to an order under section 30A or 34A of the RTOA on conviction of the offence, nor to a person who committed the offence during his probationary period under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995. However the Secretary of State may by regulations change this three year period and may change the minimum number of points to be taken into account for an offender to be eligible for a course.

109.Other provisions in new section 30A include provisions similar to those contained in section 34A of the RTOA in requiring that the court must be satisfied that a place is available on a course before making an order, must explain, orally or in writing and in ordinary language, the effect of the order to the offender and that the offender must agree to it. New section 30B deals with certificates of completion similarly to section 34B.

110.Provision is made for approval of courses by the Secretary of State or, as respects Wales, the National Assembly for Wales and, as with courses for drink drive rehabilitation, this covers guidance and arrangements for appeal to the Transport Tribunal for an applicant whose approval is denied or withdrawn. The retraining courses provided under new sections 30A, 30B, 30C and 30D of the RTOA are entirely separate from the Driver Improvement Scheme and Speed Awareness Courses, which are at the discretion of the police without any court involvement.

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