Aquarius DRIVE

Aquarius DRIVE

As part of our commitment to providing training and awareness raising to the wider community, we run alcohol education courses for people convicted of drink-drive offences.

Aquarius DRIVE is one of the West Midlands providers for the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS).

We only accept referrals from the Magistrates’ Courts in Birmingham, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Sandwell. If you want information and training without a conviction, read more about our training offer through Aquarius Life.

Magistrates may offer convicted drink-drivers the option of attending an Aquarius DRIVE course to reduce their driving ban. On completion of the course, participants are entitled to have their driving ban reduced by up to 25%.

All first-time offenders should be offered the option to participate in the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS). Repeat offenders are not specifically excluded, but will be at the discretion of Magistrates.

If the course is offered, note that it will be in addition to any fine or disqualification, and does not replace supervised probation alcohol education.

Our course aims to reduce reoffending by educating people convicted of drink-driving about alcohol. By improving knowledge, skills and attitudes towards drinking and driving, our methodology has been shown to reduce reoffending both in Britain and abroad.

The fee for the course is £150, and we require a £50 deposit prior to secure a place. The balance can be paid in instalments, but must be paid before starting the course.

Some concessionary fees are available for weekday courses.

Teaching methods include discussion, group work, formal lectures, DVDs, handouts, and home assignments. All courses take 18 hours over several weeks to complete. Depending on your personal availability, you may choose to spread the 18 hours over three, four or eight consecutive weeks.

This will look like one of:

  • 8 weeks – eight weekly sessions lasting 2 hours 15 minutes
  • 4 weeks – four weekly sessions lasting 4 hours 30 minutes
  • 3 weeks – three weekly sessions lasting 6 hours

We hold courses during the day and evening, on weekdays and Saturdays depending on your availability. You can attend over three, four, or eight weeks.

To make our courses accessible, we offer courses at a variety of venues with good public transport access. Our courses are offered in the following areas:

  • Central Birmingham
  • Solihull
  • Stourbridge
  • Sutton Coldfield
  • West Bromwich
  • Wolverhampton
  • Reviewing individual offences – causes, consequences and alternatives to drinking and driving
  • Alcohol and the law: the offence of drink-driving
  • Effects of alcohol on performance, especially driving skills
  • Links between alcohol and road safety
  • Personal attitudes towards drinking and drink-driving
  • The concept of ‘units’ as a measure of alcohol
  • How alcohol accumulates in and is eliminated by the body
  • Effects of alcohol on health and behaviour
  • Individual drinking patterns
  • Practical ways to separate drinking and driving

On successful completion, participants are issued with a Certificate of Completion to present to the court which will, in turn, notify the DVLA of the reduced disqualification period.

The course must be completed, and DVLA notified of the reduction at least eight weeks before the end of any reduced period of disqualification so that records can be amended and your licence re-issued.

If you do not complete the course, you will be issued with a Notice of Non-Completion by Aquarius.

These are the core conditions of the DDRS course – you will be required to sign a copy indicating that you understand and accept these conditions.

  1. You must be the rightful person to attend the course. Photographic ID will be required.
  2. All course fees should be paid in full before the start of the course and, where appropriate, evidence of receipt of benefits, etc will be required in advance of the course in order to qualify for a concessionary rate (concessions only available on weekday courses). Please note if you have attended a course and failed to make the full payment you have not met the requirements of the DSA for completing the course. A Notice of Non-Completion Certificate will therefore be issued to the Court
  3. You must arrive on time for each session of the course. You will be excluded if you arrive more than 15 minutes late for the first session or 5 minutes late for any subsequent session.
  4. You must arrive drug and alcohol-free. During the course, including break times, you must not consume alcohol or drugs. Any participant doing so will be excluded from the session – this will be classed as non-attendance.
  5. You must complete all sessions, in sequence. Requests to arrive late or leave early will be denied.
  6. You must comply fully with any reasonable instructions or requests from the trainer.
  7. Mobile phones and pagers must be switched off.
  8. You must participate in each course session and complete all tasks that you are required to carry out between sessions.
  9. You must respect and keep confidences shared on the course.
  10. Do not use language or behaviour which other people may find offensive. Equal opportunities principles must be respected.
  11. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the premises. If you choose to smoke during the breaks provided then please move right away from the building.
  12. Disqualified drivers caught driving to or from a course will be excluded, reported to the police and a notice of non-completion will be issued.
  13. Please note that you cannot resume driving until you have received your driving licence back from DVLA and a HRO (High Risk Offender) will need to complete a medical before the licence is re-issued.
  14. Data Protection: Aquarius has been given information about you by the Courts.  We use this information to prepare your certificate and to provide statistics to the Drive Vehicle Standards Association (DVSA) and to the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA).

We will keep your data securely for three years and then destroy it. We will not share information about you with anyone else unless you give your consent. However, there are certain circumstances when we may need to share your personal information without your permission. This would be when you or someone else (eg a child) is at risk of serious harm or death.

 

Contact / referral details

DRIVE FAQ

We will write to you, usually within 2-3 weeks of your Court appearance.

Yes, you can ask in Court for a course in your area.

You can only get referred for a course and get a reduction in your driving ban if the course was offered as part of your sentence in Court.  Otherwise, you can attend but would not be entitled to have your ban reduced.

You can pay by card, cheque or pay cash direct into our bank account using a personalised paying-in slip we provide. You can spread the fee by instalments as long as the booking is made early enough to allow this. The fee must always be paid in full before your course starts.

No, but there are Conditions of Attendance which must be adhered to, e.g. you must attend all the sessions on time.

You don’t have to attend the course if you don’t want to but it will give you the education, information and tools you need to avoid any repetition of your offence.

The course is not aimed at people with a drink problem.  It is designed to help everyone, even occasional drinkers, to plan how they can separate their drinking from driving.

In some cases, whether or not you attend a DDRS course, the DVLA may require you to have a medical if you are in the High Risk Offender Category.  You will be classed as a High Risk Offender (HRO) if you…

  • … are more than 2.5 times over the legal limit (88 in Breath and 200 in Blood)
  • … have been disqualified for the 2nd time in 10 years
  • … have failed to provide a sample for analysis

Only if it was ordered by the Court as part of your sentence, or if you have accrued more than 6 points within 2 years of passing your driving test.

There are Insurance companies who recognise the course and can offer preferential rates on presentation of a Certificate of Completion.  Contact numbers are given on the course.

We welcome your feedback and would love to hear what you think, so please get in touch at drive@aquarius.org.uk or on 0121 622 6913.