§ Lembit Öpik
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what evaluation of the recently introduced Driving Test Hazard Perception Test his Department has carried out; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what research his Department carried out in preparation for the introduction of the Driving Test Hazard Perception Test; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what research his Department has carried out on the reaction of people from different age groups to the new Driving Test Hazard Perception Test; and if he will make a statement;
(4) what plans his Department has to modify the content of format of the new Driving Test Hazard Perception Test; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
Hazard perception testing for learner car, lorry and bus drivers, motorcyclists and prospective driving instructors was introduced in November 2002 as part of the qualifying theory test. The pass mark for the hazard perception part of the test has been progressively raised since introduction as instructors and their pupils became accustomed to the new assessment.
Following feedback from candidates that they did not fully understand what they were required to do in the hazard perception part of the theory test, the tutorial video that candidates are shown at the start of that part of the test was revised last December. Since then, the pass rates for the hazard perception part of the test have increased significantly:
Percentage November December February 2002 2003 2004 Car 79 69 80 Motorcycle 93 81 89 Lorry 80 69 79 Bus 80 66 76 Driving Instructor 66 56 64
Research over a 10 year period by the Transport Research Laboratory into the importance of hazard awareness in collision prevention indicated that performance in tests of hazard perception improved as experience is gained. The research showed that experienced drivers performed better than new drivers, who in turn performed better than learner drivers.
The film clips used in the hazard perception assessment were trialled before introduction to determine their effectiveness at discriminating between drivers on the ground of their experience. Calibration trials and analysis then took place to identify an appropriate mix of clips to ensure individual tests were of similar difficulty.
Customer satisfaction surveys and focus groups conducted by the Driving Standards Agency explore customer reactions to all aspects of the testing process, 1324W including the hazard perception assessment. The research does not differentiate between test candidates based upon their age.
We have no plans to change the format of the hazard perception assessment. We do, however, plan to extend the computerised assessment, together with multiple-choice questions of knowledge and understanding, to the existing standards supervision for all registered driving instructors later this year.