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Theory Test Wins Top International Road Safety Award

The hazard perception section of the UK driving theory test has been recognised with an international road safety award for its contribution towards reducing the number of crashes involving newly qualified drivers.

The hazard perception test took the top prize at this year’s Prince Michael International Road Safety awards, which recognise outstanding examples of road safety initiatives worldwide.

Research has shown that the introduction of the hazard perception test in 2002 is associated with an 11 percent reduction in crashes, helping to improve road safety and reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads.

The hazard perception element of the test uses video clips to test candidates’ reactions to developing hazards. The original filmed clips will soon be updated with computer generated imagery that better reflects modern driving environments and will allow a wider range of hazards to be incorporated into the test.

Roads Minister, Claire Perry, 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.

“This award highlights how effective the hazard perception element is in ensuring that learner drivers can identify risks and apply these skills once they have passed their driving test. It demonstrates the significant contribution the test has made towards road safety in this country.”

DVSA Chief Executive, Alastair Peoples, said:

“I am extremely pleased that the hazard perception test and its contribution to road safety have been recognised by this award. It is vitally important that we encourage learners to be aware of risk, and research has shown how effective the hazard perception test is in reducing the number of crashes involving newly qualified drivers.  We continuously keep the theory test under review to ensure that the content of the test reflects modern driving.”

Announcing the award, Prince Michael said:

“I know that young driver safety is a high priority especially here in Europe and I also know that many organisations are struggling to find effective and acceptable ways of reducing the risk that these young people face. Even small reductions in risk help; however there is one educational initiative which has been with us for a few years but which has been proved to reduce risk by a remarkable 11 percent. There are many people here today who played important roles in the development and implementation of this outstanding initiative and I would like to congratulate the team behind the UK’s hazard perception test for such a significant achievement.”

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

Every year around 1.5m hazard perception tests are taken as part of the theory test, with an average pass rate of 85 percent for the hazard perception section.