The National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme originated from a recommendation made by Dr Peter North (Sir Peter North) in his Road Traffic Law Review of 1988. This report commissioned by the Department of Transport, made many recommendations that are now part and parcel of normal enforcement. The first course was designed by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary together with Devon County Council and was known as the Driver Rectification Course. This course was taken up incrementally by forces across the whole of the UK and its evolution paved the way for today’s NDORS.
The general philosophy behind NDORS, is that motorists may be diverted from the prosecution system where their driving amounts to a lapse of concentration or an error of judgement. The police decide, generally applying the public interest test, whether or not to divert the offender to a course. The offender can choose a course venue anywhere that offers the national course despite the location of the offending, this stops them having to return to the force area where it originated. They must pay for the cost of the course and the time to attend, self-funded rather than paid for by the state. On completion of the course, the original offence lapses and there is no further action taken in relation to it except they are excluded from attending a similar course for three years (capturing the persistent offender and ensuring they are prosecuted if they don’t amend their behaviour) and their name is placed on the national DORS database (managed centrally by the scheme). If the offender defaults on the offer the case reverts to normal process.
In December 2012 this scheme won the Prince Michael International Road Safety premier award, recognising the value of enforcement being met by a course of education rather than prosecution/penalty.
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