Road Safety News

Theory test wins road safety award

Friday 7th November 2014

The hazard perception section of the driving theory test has received a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its role in “saving hundreds of lives every year”.

As the name suggests, the hazard perception test uses video clips to test candidates’ reactions to hazards on the road. The original filmed clips are soon to be replaced with animated clips, incorporating a wider range of hazards. Every year around 1.5m hazard perception tests are taken as part of the theory test, with an average pass rate of 85%.

The Prince Michael judges described the hazard perception test as an “outstanding innovation, which had made a considerable improvement to road safety and was well overdue for recognition”.

Alastair Peoples, DVSA chief executive, said: “The theory test plays a vital role in making sure that new drivers know the Highway Code and the rules of the road, helping them to drive safely and responsibly and making our roads safer." 

Adrian Walsh, director of the Prince Michael Road Safety Awards scheme, said: “Although this element of the test is now considered by most candidates as nothing special, its effect in reducing casualties has been significant.

“Analysis shows that a statistically significant reduction of 11.3% in accidents on public roads can be attributed to hazard perception testing.

“An award to the team behind this outstanding innovation is long overdue.”

In June this year the hazard perception test also received the John Smart Road Safety Award at the 2014 Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) Awards.


Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

The hazard perception test surely is innovative but its implementation and execution are very poor.

The reactionary nature of the test means that if you spot potential hazards before they develop you effectively score nothing, while developing hazards rely on reaction times to score points towards a final mark, effectively turning a serious assessment tool into little more than a game, a game that once the required criteria have been learned can be beaten or passed due to the accessibility of training aids, with very little actual road sense or awareness required from the user.

You can see this on any road, on any day of the week, from not only the recently licensed driver but also from the sadly more experienced drivers and even from so-called professional drivers who have not undertaken the test.
Driver of Two Decades and recent Motorcyclist

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

As a matter of basic arithmetic principle, it is not remotely possible to establish such figures to 3 significant figures, so why do 7 readers disagree? Do they also believe official car fuel consumption figure of 43.2 mpg and top speeds of 117.6? Or for that matter that Virgin Galactia will take 50 paying passengers a week into space?
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (3) | Disagree (4)

Where might I find the analysis that demonstrates the effectiveness to a quite remarkable 3 significant figures of accuracy? Frankly, no such accuracy is remotely plausible, claiming it serves only to raise doubts about the method.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (6) | Disagree (10)

A hazard perception test is a thoroughly good idea yet the massive problem with this one is that it rewards only reactive responses to hazards not the essential proactive ones.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (13) | Disagree (3)

Hazard perception (and anticipation and subsequently dealing with it) is the most fundamental and crucial aspect of road accident avoidance and anything which promotes it and makes it more understandable and accepted by the motorized road user, is to be welcomed.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)