ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Redevelopment of Victoria?s Hazard Perception Test

Catchpole, John, Leadbeatter, Corinne

Driver Licensing & Training


The over-representation of young and inexperienced drivers in traffic accidents (compared to more experienced drivers) is widely acknowledged as one of the most intractable of safety issues. In highly motorised countries, the rates of accident involvement, injury and death per distance travelled are higher for young novice drivers than for all other segments of the driving population, with the possible exception of the very oldest drivers (say those aged 80 years or more).

More than three decades of research into this issue has revealed that both age-related and experience-related factors contribute to the elevated accident involvement of novice drivers (e.g. Catchpole, Macdonald and Bowland, 1994). Among factors related to lack of driving experience, there is considerable evidence that poor hazard perception skills make an important contribution to novice driver accident involvement. Young, inexperienced drivers are slower than more experienced drivers to detect and respond to hazards in the driving environment (Quimby and Watts, 1981) and less likely to detect child pedestrians and cyclists in the driving environment (Egberink, Lourens and van der Molen, 1986). Slow hazard detection (measured in a driving simulator) is associated with a history of greater self-reported accident involvement (Quimby, Maycock, Carter, Dixon and Wall, 1986). Novice drivers have been found to be particularly over-represented in those types of accidents that are most likely to result from poor hazard perception (Catchpole, Cairney and Macdonald, 1994; Catchpole, 1998).

This paper provides a brief description of the current hazard perception test (HPT) and an overview of the process of developing VicRoads? new updated and expanded HPT.