Japan Today
national

83-year-old man with dementia killed in car crash while driving wrong way on expressway

23 Comments

An 83-year-old man who suffered from dementia was killed early Wednesday morning after the car he was driving the wrong way along an expressway was hit by a truck.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 12:30 a.m. on the No. 5 Ikebukuro Route in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward. TV Asahi quoted police as saying that Toshiro Tokuda drove about two kilometers the wrong way before he slammed into a truck which knocked him into the path of a semitrailer.

The truck driver told police the car seemed to come out of nowhere.

Tokuda was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police said that Tokuda had sideswiped a taxi when he first entered the expressway a few minutes before the fatal crash.

Police said that Tokuda's family noticed him missing on Tuesday afternoon and when he failed to return by nightfall, notified police.

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

23 Comments
Login to comment

WTH is this guy doing driving a car? Dementia is becoming a serious problem and these oldsters need to be watched 24/7. I know, we've had some family members. Watch them or get help. There is help available in Japan for respite.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan should have the limit age of getting driver license. I think over 70years old people shouldn't get it,

-12 ( +4 / -17 )

kikokikoJan. 08, 2015 - 07:23AM JST Japan should have the limit age of getting driver license. I think over 70years old people shouldn't get it,

Actually, statistically, those 64 years and older have less fatal car crashes than any other age category. The number of fatal car crashes peaks in the 24 to 34 year old category, and decreases slowly from there.

Therefore a more sensible and logical position would be to deny driving licenses to anyone under the age of 35. ... but clearly most people don't care about the statistics or logic.

As for someone with diagnosed dementia being allowed to keep their driver's license.. well, that's a completely different issue.

Doctors should be required to report serious conditions that might interfere with safe driving, like uncontrolled epilepsy, serious heart problems, dementia, and so on. The individual should then have their driver's license suspended.

Reinstatement of the driver's license should be reliant on the driver being able to prove that they are once again medically safe to drive.

Of course that's a little too logical for some people, who would prefer to just put an unfair and prejudicial blanket ban on all old drivers... most of whom are safe drivers.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Most information about dementia warns against driving, but does not describe when or how to stop. So deciding when to limit or stop driving can be a confusing issue for individuals diagnosed with dementia because the progression of this disease is usually gradual and somewhat unpredictable.It affects the cognitive functions critical to driving. But earlier diagnose and better medications may allow people to drive longer, further complicating the decision on dementia and driving. Thus all people with dementia will eventually lose the ability to drive safely due to problems with judgment, slowed reaction time, impartial spacial skills and other cognitive deficits. In the end a person with dementia must stop driving.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Frungy - actually in my prefecture the elderly are clearly the highest fatalities group. And the trend is very worrying to authorities as the % shows no signs of falling. The police awareness programs re aged / demented drivers is failing.

Part of the cause is the unwillingness of family members to pressure their elderly parents/relatives to quit driving.

In a discussion on this with a friend whose father is in his 90s and drives daily (albeit rural roads), I said he must be a good driver and her response was that he is terrible, but she was worried if he was forced to quit driving he'd lose his freedom and joy of doing things. I said if he died in a crash he'd lose those too. Also I suggested he was endangering others. She agreed, but felt powerless to do anything about it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

frungy

take those stats with a grain of salt. logically, there are more people in that age range, hence the higher number of fatalities in crashes. and those crashes mostly involve reckless driving or are alcohol related. the problem with older drivers is that they have slower reflexes and may be senile, both of which cannot be cured.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Frungy

I agree with you concerning older drivers being "safer". Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule.but in general, they are less likely to be "in a hurry" to try out their driving "skills" then the younger "fast and furious" generation.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Frungy

Actually, statistically, those 64 years and older have less fatal car crashes than any other age category. The number of fatal car crashes peaks in the 24 to 34 year old category, and decreases slowly from there. Therefore a more sensible and logical position would be to deny driving licenses to anyone under the age of 35. ... but clearly most people don't care about the statistics or logic.

That's not a real indicator of how dangerous older drivers are though. They could just be on the road less than younger drivers. If your statistics somehow take that into account I'd like to know though.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Whats wrong with the idea of retesting drivers every number of years? Every 3-5 years for under 70 (at the same time as license renewals) and then every year after that. Not the full on tests like when we get our licenses, but to make sure we arent forgetting road rules or that our senses are all still there.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I know this will sound really obvious and clearly reducing us to the lowest common denominator but... what if all cars required us to enter in a password ID prior to starting the car with a key or proximity FOB so we could lock out the 'old', and 'two birds, one stone'... thieves and unauthorized users? Pretty sure someone with dementia would be hard pressed to get by that safety protocol in their state. Just sayin'...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

another old demented driver? as a response to statistical accidents peaking at young age is because people drive more at that specific age, its really quite simple . Simple fact is that anyone over 65 driving is a menace, they are stubborn,often in bad health and clouded judgement. Old people SHOULD not be allowd on the road!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

eat turmeric.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Was it the dementia or suicide? He hit a few other vehicles before the truck, so there was some determination in his actions.

Putting an age limit on driving is nonsense! Most aged people only have their car as their only means of transport. However, I do think elderly drivers should have to do regular aptitude testing to ensure they are mentally and physically capable of driving a car. My parents are both in their late 70's and both drive well.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Poor old guy. surely his family should have taken away his car keys?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan should have the limit age of getting driver license. I think over 70years old people shouldn't get it,

How would no longer having a driving license have made any difference in this case? The guy had dementia. He wasnt in a position to say "Oh, well I would drive but Id better not as I dont have my license anymore."

The family should have ensured his safety (and the safety of others) by not allowing access to the car keys and not waiting hours to report him missing.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Doctors should be required to report serious conditions that might interfere with safe driving, like uncontrolled epilepsy, serious heart problems, dementia, and so on. The individual should then have their driver's license suspended.

Absolutely. I've told the story of my MIL here before, how she was able to keep her license even with Stage 5 dementia. She made mistakes and it was obvious she wasn't understanding instructions...they gave her her license and told her to only use it for identification. Right. The current system gives no one the right to take away a license, not the police, nor doctors. It's left up to the families to fight tooth and nail to get the car keys away from someone who obviously shouldn't be driving.

Afanofjapan, they are tested after 75. See my comment above to see what happens when they fail the test :-)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

it's possible he simply took the family car.. nothing in the article says he was a regular driver.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a real tragedy for everyone involved. It's hard to imagine how hard it is for families to have the "car key conversation" until you've had to do it yourself. Someone who is proud, wants to hang onto their independence, and losing their critical faculties will fight tooth and nail to keep driving, and it's incredibly hard to step in and say "You can't do this", generally to your parent. That's why there should be laws that force regular checks, say from 70, and doctors should be legally obliged to report dementia of a patient to the licensing authority. That way it's taken out of the family's hands. Once the licence has been revoked, something like a pin number would probably keep most dementia sufferers safe. I know pin numbers were one of the first things my Dad became unable to remember. Car keys then need to be locked away, as a dementia sufferer will just suddenly swing into action and start doing something. They certainly won't remember they don't have a licence any more.

Another reason for starting the driving checks relatively early is that older people will have accepted and got used to the tests hopefully well before they start showing signs of dementia, so are less likely to rebel at the idea of a test.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@afanofjapan

Whats wrong with the idea of retesting drivers every number of years?

Nothing ! They already do it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Disillusioned, was it dementia or SUICIDE?? VERY GOOD POINT! Very easy to just jump to conclusions and say to say he was a poor, old goat who should have had his keys taken away a long time ago, but here in JAPAN, the Land o SUICIDES, it would not surprise me if this older man and many of these older folk who "just happen to be walking or riding their bicycles on to HIGHWAYS" may be a pattern of suicides and NOT just accidents. RIP???

2 ( +2 / -0 )

RIP? Even if it was suicide, he was trying to harm other in the process... his family should be jailed for not taking the proper care.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Alex Einz What says that they weren't taking proper care of him. Trust me, I have someone in the family with a high level of dementia and you can try your best to help but it simply won't work. I'm not saying that you're wrong, the family may have not been taking proper care of him but like I said, what evidence is there that they weren't. Maybe he should've been in a retirement home.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The evidence? Him driving would be enough... someone with dementia has no business wandering the streets

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites