METI Tested Automatic Brake for Aged Drivers
The Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) hosted a ground test of passenger cars developed by 8 leading motor manufacturers in Japan to test automatic brake systems to help ensure safety driving of the aged drivers, March 22.
Deputy ministers joined the test by seating by the drivers cruising the cars at 30 km/h or thereabouts in the ministry compound. Ahead of the vehicles were placed obstacles for the vehicles to detect. The safety test was designed to ascertain the capacity of each vehicle to come to halt a set distance away from the obstacle.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, 45% of the new cars manufactured and marketed at home two years ago were equipped with automatic brake systems, whereas those equipped with some device to prevent "jump start" due to wrong pedaling totaled at 35%.
Minister Takagi of METI, having himself taken part in the safety test found the automatic brake system at work, told the press:
"The experience today reminded me of the need to expedite measures to promote ways to ensure safety driving and manufacture of vehicles to support safety on the road."
Meanwhile, third parties have already come up with automatic brake devices ready to install on the road. Autobacs Seven Co., Ltd. has one for 40,000 yen or so ready to install in a day. The device sold 2.5 times more than estimated in two week's time when marketed in December last year. Auto Parts Section chief, Akiko Matsui, says:
"Not only the aged drivers but the family members of the aged come to inquire."
However, Director Takahiro Omori, head of Auto Assessment, Automotive Safety & Victims' Aid (NASVA), warns against the reckless use of such device as, as he puts it, is a mere auxiliary mechanism to support the driver. (Nathan Shiga)