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Car driven by 97-year-old man kills woman, injures 4 in Fukushima

28 Comments

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They'll suspend his license for 6 months or maybe even a year

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Many older drivers can drive well enough, but many others have a lifetime of bad driving habits ingrained in them and are a danger to themselves and others around them on the road (and pavement). Then again, I think 97 years of age is getting on a bit to be driving at all.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Isn't 97 a bit ridiculous? Everywhere in Japan they try to get old folks to voluntrily hand in their D/Ls at the age of 70. I guess Fukushima didn't get the memo.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Sadly, this kind of tragedy will be more frequent as Japan's demographics and social norms is pushed to its limits. I feel for the victims and the driver.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

The government is urging the elderly to return their driver's licenses voluntarily if they feel unsure about their physical ability.

If people were able to do that on their own there would not be any increase on the number of accidents, if the government is actually interested in reducing this problem it will need to put forward a system that do not depend on people doing something they could be doing already.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

System breakdown alert!

aging population in the countryside. Local free bus system needed

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Now, if they were so spineless about taking away the licenses of the elderly, these people would all still be safe, and the dead still alive. And what's his punishment going to be? How on earth can he possibly pay for what he has done? I guess all they can do is lock him up for manslaughter until he's dead, and make compensation for the person who died (ergo, family) come from his pension and/or savings. So utterly senseless. Get more public buses out there for the elderly, fine. Maybe spend a couple billion less on defense spending for a year to fund it nationwide.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

97 is too old for driving. 80-85 max with tests.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

No one over the age of 60 (65 max with strict tests) should be allowed to drive period. I never understood the selfishness of grampas who refuse to give up their 'right' to drive a car.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

All four women in the other vehicles -- in their 20s, 70s, 80s and 100s --

100s? You don't see that written often in a news article. Hope she's okay. Also a worrying indicator of Japan's aging population.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I fully support elderly drivers but there has to be a realistic cut off point. At 97 he would not have the reflexes or cognition to be fully in control of a motor vehicle. The details of this incident support his lack of control.

On the other side of the coin. the elderly get very little support from the government or communities. This often leaves them with no choice than to drive.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

aging population in the countryside. Local free bus system needed

An opportunity for autonomous mobility-as-a-service affordable enough to undercut car ownership. Do it, JP!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would agree with @Mickelicious

Perhaps for those who really need a Car, the Government could lend them a Tesla or other brand of self-driving car ?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If I am ever lucky enough to live to 97, I would not be so bold as to get behind the wheel, no matter how good a driver I was. At that age, your reflexes and mind are just not as sharp as they used to be.

But it is usually difficult for the elderly to live without a car in rural areas, with alternatives such as public transportation or taxis not easily available for shopping or visiting clinics or hospitals.

The government should invest in a transport system for these local areas/neighborhoods - like volunteer buses or something that come round a few times a week for those who need to go to the shops, the doctor's etc. Or like a carshare / carpool system. I'd also suggest those self-driving vehicles but I think those are still not 100% tested out yet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

97 is definitely too old to be driving a regular car. That said, I have known drivers in their 90s who were mentally alert and perfectly capable to still drive safely their regular rounds, while I can't say the same about some young guys, who consider speed limits road ornaments.

The solution might be a special car for the elderly with limited speed and range. It should be optional 75-80 and mandatory after 80. That would keep fit elderly people mobile and the speed limitation would prevent most serious accidents.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Was he Texting or on the phone when his automobile swerved into the sidewalk?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Hey @el rata 60's is old? lol My eyesight is going as yours will at this age but i can out surf/bike/hike many in their 20s. My wifes dad is 86 and he outworks me chopping trees and clearing land. I agree 97 is probably too old but they need to have reflex and mobility tests added as requirement.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Once I retire, I will find a place near a supermarket, restaurant, and hospital, and a train station. Why worry about cars?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Condolences

Another prime example of how the safety rules and regulations/ contingencies in Japan at every level of society and government are dysfunctional

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No one over the age of 60 (65 max with strict tests) should be allowed to drive period.

You'll change your mind once you are old enough to drive.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Fortunately where I live the municipal office has a free bus service, funded through the municipal office, that has "bus stops" at all the local supermarkets, hospitals, clinics, banks, and other "popular" locations, that anyone can use, but were set up by the office, particularly for the elderly.

From what I heard from an elderly neighbor, that was the number reason they turned in their license, as they were worried about how they would get around.

This is a serious problem here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You'll change your mind once you are old enough to drive.

Lol! It's true! Far too many 60 to 65 year old people are still working full time, and depending where one lives, public transportation is unreliable or far too expensive for those over 60.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

97 is too old for driving. 80-85 max with tests.

Agreed. Over 80 years old is pushing it. Govt should provide for free or nominal fee (say 100 -200 yen fare ) public transport rides for elderly after say 70.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I know people 80-85 who drive and are competent drivers. I see women that old driving heavy tractors in the fields.

Local community bus to shops and hospitals ¥100. Community taxis ¥200.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The story says this happened on a straight road, which suggests the guy lost consciousness, possiby due to a stroke. The guy may have been dexterous and completely compos mentis, in which case he would be perfectly capable of driving a car. There is no rule saying people at risk from heart attacks or strokes can't drive cars. Some people have heart attacks in their 30s.

My suggestion to minimize the risk here would be anyone that age should be in a car with automated braking. The technology is there and would only mean old people aren't allowed to drive old bangers that lack the technology, a small price to pay to keep their mobility. If we actually want to make the roads safer (I don't think its an actual high priority), a date could be set, say 2025, and from then on, all shakened cars must have auto braking. I say this as someone who exclusively buys 10 year old plus used cars, so any change like this would push up the cost of the cars I'd have to buy myself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan really needs to change the driving requirements. How many more people must die/get injured? Attending a seminar on "safe driving when they renew their licenses" or undertaking dementia tests is obviously not enough. Knowing the safety rules doesn't mean you can react in time. I think they should take an actual driving test every year after 70 years old.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I've always scratched my head and wondered why the Japanese government does just put an age cap on driving. I've also wondered why there isn't an age cap on politicias, presidents and prime-ministers. The rest of us have a ' sell by date '.....why not old drivers and politicians ?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

OssanAmericaNov. 20  05:48 pm JST

Isn't 97 a bit ridiculous? Everywhere in Japan they try to get old folks to voluntrily hand in their D/Ls at the age of 70. I guess Fukushima didn't get the memo.

Absolutely but you need to replace their lose of mobility with something probably expensive. Eg a taxi service for the elderly, a call a bus system, or something else. And the internet smart phones won’t do it if your in your 70s80s90s.

>

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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