Panel Met to Discuss Traffic Accidents by the Aged
There is a growing number of traffic accidents due to the reckless driving by the aged, and the Metropolitan Police Department summoned a panel for the first time to discuss how best to minimize unfortunate cases of elderlies causing traffic accidents, January 16.
The first meeting was attended by 20 panelists comprising college professors, doctors, and officials from relevant ministries and government offices to share information on the fast rising social problem associated with aged drivers over 75 years of age and to work out measures to counter the pressing threats on the road.
Data show that a total of 458 fatal traffic accidents the year before last were caused by drivers over 75 years of age. Compared as per 100 thousand drivers, the over-75-years outnumbered those below 75 years old by 2.4 times.
Some 30% of traffic accidents caused by the elders over 75 were associated with poor steering, stepping on gas instead of brake or vice versa, etc., twice as many as compared with those under 75. Further, twice as many elders over 75 were killed while driving.
The Metropolitan Police Department suspects poor judgment and physical deterioration on the part of the aged drivers as a key contributor to the worrisome tendency. The panel will discuss encouraging the elders to willingly return the driving license, stepping up effective safety education, etc.
In October last year, an 87-year-old male driver drove his mini car into a school of children enroute to school, killing a boy and injuring seven including four elementary school pupils.
Last November, an 84-year-old man drove his passenger car right into a bus at a university hospital bus stop in Tochigi, killing one and injuring two.
It is high time a rigorous countermeasure was laid out to put a brake on this serious trend. (Nathan Shiga)