Following recent updates to the DVLA hazard perception theory test, young learners have found the practise CD-ROM so engrossing that many have become addicted to the format, leading game developers, EA Sports, to release enhanced role-play versions for the xBox and PS3 gaming platforms.
Rather than merely click to recognise a developing hazard such as a wobbling bicycle, players will now have to use their skill to negotiate their way through traffic, and deal with offenders by issuing a slap on the wrist, a fixed penalty notice or, for serial offenders, perhaps a shot to the leg.
Advanced levels include mowing down cyclists who fail to stop at red lights and clattering through obese men charging across the road to a Gregg’s despite there being a crossing 15 yards further along.
The theory test was intended to teach patience and tolerance to uncivil road users, but the DVLA are rethinking their strategy in a ‘natural selection’ approach, designed to improve the average capability of the modern road user.
Game designer and DVLA consultant David Jax said; ‘The trick is not going out of your way to break the law – reckless and illegal driving still cause a level failure, but players are now offered an ‘acceptable abuse’ function which sums up the spirit of the game. It includes such choice phrases as ‘Why d’ya keep walking into my fist?’, ‘What, didn’t you see the light?’ and ‘It’s what Charles Darwin would have wanted.”