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Fatal traffic accidents involving over-75s on rise in Japan

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Data is one thing, doing something productive is another. There is no "right" for anyone to drive, it's a privilege, yet the government has done little to ensure the safety of those who lose their privileges to drive!

When I say government, I am not talking about the national government alone here, local municipalities MUST get involved and find solutions to assist these seniors who MUST drive to stay alive in many cases! Take away their licenses and they lose their mobility, their "freedom" too.

Many of these elderly who are in accidents live in small towns far removed from the services that they need to live, supermarkets, banks, hospitals, etc etc etc. The public transportation is too far away, or nonexistent. Taxis cost too much for them, as many live on fixed incomes.

It is actually more convenient for the elderly to live in larger metropolitan areas, as the goods and services they need to survive are much more convenient and accessible. Something to consider!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I refuse to ride with a driver that is a senior. All you have to do is look at some of their cars to understand why. Dings, scratches broken outside mirrors. Add to that some are hard of hearing and have poor eyesight.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

With an increase in ages people, it should be no surprise there are more accidents involving old people. Elderly drivers are only responsible for 7% of road fatalities and less than 20% of traffic accidents. There are far greater dangers on Japanese roads than elderly drivers.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Learning that a red light means ‘stop’ is something that needs to be checked at every licence renewal......

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Road safety could be greatly improved in this country by getting rid of traffic lights and increasing the number of roundabouts. Much safer.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Elderly drivers are only responsible for 7% of road fatalities

You misread the data. They account for 14.8% of fatalities.

Giventhat not ask that many over 75s are driving it is a pretty high percentage.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Road safety could be greatly improved in this country by getting rid of traffic lights and increasing the number of roundabouts. Much safer.

What has this got to do with the over 75s?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There are far greater dangers on Japanese roads than elderly drivers.

So nothing should be done about them? This article isn't about any other dangers of driving in Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Study after study has been conducted and experts have found that driving too SLOW is more dangerous than driving too fast. The reason is that slow drivers, tend to be more out of sync than with traffic than drivers going near the limit or just over the limit.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Study after study has been conducted and experts have found that driving too SLOW is more dangerous than driving too fast. The reason is that slow drivers, tend to be more out of sync than with traffic than drivers going near the limit or just over the limit.

To add to that, slow driver's also cause the drivers that are stuck behind them to become impatient (road rage) and try risky maneuvers to try to get around them.  Also add to the fact that most drivers in this country drive as if they are the only car on the road.  Bad combination.

S

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It's simple. Test drivers over a certain age more often, perhaps yearly, to ensure they are still able to drive safely. If they pass, they are fine. Anyone who can't pass a driving test can't drive anyway, so no rights are violated.

But like Yubaru said above, something must be done at the same time to ensure they have the ability to access whatever they need.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Some very good suggestions here.  If only the government would take advice and make changes now, not years down the road (sorry).

Roundabouts, thumbs up!

Yearly tests for over 70s, big thumbs up!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yubaru - here to take your car away!

We already have laws established for taking someone's keys away. It applies equally to all ages and abilities.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

When dealing with elderly drivers we need to be careful not to use age alone as a criteria. Current Japanese laws seem to offer a fair way to deal with this issue. It's also important not to misinterpret statistics.  As the general population ages there are naturally more people over 75. So, of course the number of accidents cause by the over 75 group is increasing. Is it increasing faster than the increase in the population? If it is it needs to be dealt with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

self driving cars now please!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In terms of fatal accidents per 100,000 drivers, the figure for the elderly rose from 7.7 to 8.2.

That only indicates that there are more elderly drivers on the road. It doesn't necessarily mean that percentage-wise, they are causing more accidents.

The more elderly drivers there are, of course the more accidents they are going to be involved in.

I wouldn't be surprised if the same sort of statistics exist for foreign drivers in Japan. There are more foreigners living in Japan than ever before. Thus, there are presumably more foreign drivers. And thus, more foreigners involved in road accidents.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The government, both local and national, should address this problem asap. Maybe provide alternative transportation, policy change, or better implementation of existing law?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Carousel. Renewal

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In rural areas public transport services are being abandoned by local authorities as uneconomic while local shops are being put out of business by large supermarkets etc., often ten or fifteen kilometers away. The local government won't even take away large items of trash—they have to be driven to the dump. People have no option but to drive so the best solution would be to provide regular, cheap public transport.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The above article only reaffirms my decision not to renew my driving license last year. The decision I made was something all over 70's should consider, not just for themselves but consideration of the rest of the population.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In rural areas public transport services are being abandoned by local authorities as uneconomic while local shops are being put out of business by large supermarkets etc., often ten or fifteen kilometers away. The local government won't even take away large items of trash—they have to be driven to the dump. People have no option but to drive so the best solution would be to provide regular, cheap public transport.

Exactly right!

While many elderly drivers drive because they want to and are stubborn / refuse to stop doing so, many do so because they have no choice, particularly those that live in rural areas.

It is all well and good to insist that elderly drivers be forced to stop driving, whether because they fail a driving or test or something similar, but doing without ensuring they have a way to do the things they need to do to live and maintain their existence is hugely problematic.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"highlighting the country's need to take further steps in curbing such accidents amid the aging of its population."

I predict that in the next fiscal year the government will pass a law making it necessary for people over 70 to think about giving up their license, then pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Issue resolved until the next time the issue présents a problem for them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

BertieWooster: "Road safety could be greatly improved in this country by getting rid of traffic lights and increasing the number of roundabouts. Much safer."

Not for the elderly population and everyone Driving in their proximity it wouldn't. Not at all. It would great increase accidents.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's the governments fault.

They should provide a transportation service for the elderly.

My mom lives in Hawaii and uses the Handi Van.

It takes and picks her up at her home to anywhere on the island for a flat rate of $2 each way.

She goes shopping, to the bank and hangs with her friends anytime of the day.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My saying!

Just taking away the license won't work.

How about offering an alternative like a free bus ticket, covering lets say an area of 20 to 30 kilometers from where you live. That could be an incentive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@klausdorth

How about offering bus services, as I said earlier, in many rural areas they no longer have buses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We already have laws established for taking someone's keys away. It applies equally to all ages and abilities.

If that's the case then these statistics would be dropping not rising.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It amazes me how people can't understand simple statistics.

The numbers presented in the article show that JP drivers over 75yo have a higher percentage of accidents per capita than those under 75. And, the percentage per capita has been rising.

It is not just total accidents rising. And, it's not because there are more senior drivers on the road. It's that the percentage of senior drivers that are having fatal accidents is greater than the percentage of below-75yo drivers having fatal accidents.

Obviously, because there are way more drivers under 75yo, the younger group will have more total fatal accidents. But, within each group, the over 75yo drivers have a much higher percentage of fatal accidents.

Why is that so hard for people to comprehend?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It doesn't really have only to do with older drivers. There are all types on the road. Crazy kids. Brain dead middle aged guys in white K trucks driving everywhere at 15 kph. Paper drivers from Tokyo, driving rental cars. Regular driving tests that actually test a person's ability to drive would fix it.

But testing for actual ability to DO is a totally new thing in Japanese education :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But testing for actual ability to DO is a totally new thing in Japanese education :)

I don't understand this claim. Generally, education as I've seen it in Japan, the US, and the UK, does not test performance in real world stituations. Where you find that is in vocational education and licensing exams. From what I have seen and heard the actual driving test in Japan is quite rigorous. Reading about it made me happy that I could convert my British license to a Japanese license without taking the behind the wheel part. I know several Japanese who got a DL in Britain so they could convert it to a Japanese DL without having to do a behind the wheel test in Japan.

As someone wit a decade of experience with roundabouts in Britain, I rather doubt that they would reduce accidents in Japan. Roundabouts can be extremely confusing. There are some in London that are mind boggling in their complexity. Further, elderly drivers still manage to get on motorways driving against traffic.

I would also note that when you reach 70 in Japan, you have to go through a four-hour program to renew your license. I found it useful. Some of the tests made me realize how much my reflexes have slowed and how much my vision has declined in terms of adjusting to rapid shifts from light to dark typical of going into a tunnel. When you renew a 75 there is more of the same including a dementia test.

Japan will come to regret allowing shopping malls to destroy small town shopping districts and allowing motorization to destroy public transportation outside of large urban areas. This is however, not a Japan-specific problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Annual license renewal, with eye test, hearing test and driving test.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Annual license renewal, with eye test, hearing test and driving test.

Good in theory; impractical and too expensive in practice. Japan is currently doing more than Britain. In Britain renewal is every three years after age 70 but there is no testing at all and it is up to you to report medical conditions that might impact on your ability to drive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bullfighter: Prince Philip being a case in point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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