TRL work has been recognised with a major award from the CIHT.
TRL’s entry for the John Smart Road Safety Award was for Hazard Perception Testing in the GB Driving Theory Test. It encompassed basic and applied research and implementation work that was funded by the Department for Transport and 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.
The resulting 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.
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, it has been calculated in subsequent work that this fall in accidents has represented an annual saving of over £89.5 million.
Dr Graham Grayson, who oversaw the development of the Hazard Perception test while working at TRL in the 1990s and early 2000s said “It is good to see that the judges for this award were impressed that Hazard Perception testing was not only based on good quality basic and applied research, but also that its impact on road safety has been properly evaluated”. 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.”
The award was collected by Dr Grayson and Dr Helman, along with Peter Weddell-Hall and Elizabeth Heaton from the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency.