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UK hazard perception test wins Royal Award

12 November 2014

TRL’s winning entry for a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award was for work funded by the Department for Transport that was undertaken by TRL and other organisations (the then Driving Standards Agency, The National Foundation for Educational Research, and The University of Reading) as part of the TRL Behavioural Studies Programme throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

The resulting video hazard perception test, which has been implemented in GB since 2002, was shown in the COHORT II study of learner and novice drivers to be associated with a fall in novice driver collisions. Since its implementation, the test is estimated to have prevented collisions valued at close to £1billion (using DfT monetary figures for lost economic output, human and medical costs associated with road casualties, and the police, insurance and damage costs associated with accidents).

Dr Graham Grayson, who oversaw the development of the hazard perception test while working at TRL in the 1990s and early 2000s said “I am delighted to see the hazard perception test being recognised for its application of good quality research, and the impact it has had on road safety in Great Britain.”

Other countries are now beginning to consider hazard perception testing as part of their licensing, and are learning from the experience GB has in this area. Dr Shaun Helman, who is TRL’s Head of Transport Psychology said “This is an excellent example of how TRL’s evidence-based approach to interventions in road safety can achieve real results.”

Presenting the award at TRL’s Head Office in Berkshire, Adrian Walsh, Director of the Prince Michael International 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. Analyses shows that a statistically significant reduction of 11.3% in accidents on public roads can be attributed to hazard perception testing. This in itself is a tribute to the evidence-based approach to its introduction. An award to the team behind this outstanding innovation is long overdue.”

The award was collected by TRL’s Chief Executive, Rob Wallis, Dr Graham Grayson and Dr Shaun Helman also from TRL, Peter Weddell-Hall and Bob Hannigan from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Laurie Butler from the University of Reading and John Parkinson from the Department for Transport.
 

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