No. of traffic-related deaths in Japan in 2019 falls to record low 3,215


The number of fatalities from traffic accidents in Japan was 3,215 in 2019 — a decrease of 317 from 2018, and the lowest number since 1948 when data began being collected, the National Police Agency (NPA) said in a report released Monday.

The record low in 2019 has dropped to less than one fifth from its peak five decades ago. Traffic fatalities in Japan were the highest at 16,765 in 1970. 

The NPA report attributes the drop to traffic safety measures that have “improved overall vehicle performance, an increase in police crackdowns on speeding, and greater seat belt use” among drivers and passengers. 

Of the 3,215 fatalities in 2019, people aged 65 and older accounted for 1,782 of the number, which is a decrease of 184 from 2018. However, this figure is 55.4% of the total number of fatalities—the second-highest ever recorded. 

Preventative measures to decrease traffic accidents involving senior citizens remains a critical issue in Japan, the NPA said, adding that elderly drivers are being encouraged to turn in their driver’s license. 

Although Aichi Prefecture had the highest number of deaths for 16 consecutive years, in 2019, it ranked second at 156 (a decrease of 33 fatalities). Chiba Prefecture had the highest death toll for the first time with 172. Third was Hokkaido at 152, followed by Hyogo Prefecture with 138, and fifth was Tokyo with 133. Tottori Prefecture had the lowest at 54, followed by Tokushima with 57 fatalities.

© Japan Today

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Car safety mainly I would think.

I’d like to see the number of traffic accidents too, though.

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It's still quite high when you consider leas than 50% of the adult population drive.

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For those who wish to compare with other countries . . .

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This report comes up every year.

It's good to see that fatalities are decreasing, but not good that older drivers - 65+ - account for 55%.

As these drivers tend to cover less distances and drive at lower speeds, this is esp troubling.

That national road safety authorities focus on drink driving & speed is understandable, but it appears they need to get Big in their campaigns against the needless loss of elderly lives caused by their own deteriorating skills.

On this point, my friend a forensic police scientist, said that there is higher up "pressure" to go easy on the elderly with traffic infringements, as they have certain needs. He meant that talking to them about the dangers is considered better than fining & taking away their licenses. I said it seems like there are 2 laws. He said you could say that.

And I'm only talking anecdotally about my prefecture. Elsewhere I don't know.

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per billion km traveled Japan ranks about average

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This is great news.

Though I'm surprised to see that Japan ranks about average in the world for fatalities per billion km traveled. I would have thought that the Japanese are more law abiding and careful drivers than most other nations. It seems I was wrong.

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wtfjapanToday  03:45 am JST

per billion km traveled Japan ranks about average

I'm afraid not for several reasons.

Deaths, in Japan, which occur more than 24 hours after a road accident are attributed to other causes, rather than injuries sustained from the incident. I read a research paper a number of years ago which roughly said that this reduces the number of deaths counted by around 30%

* The ongoing movement of people (especially young) to the cities reduces the number of daily drivers in rural environments where the speeds are generally faster on the open roads and the roads are poorer.

Japan also had/has a serious problem with EMT staff and bureaucracy. In many countries EMT staff have the ability to autonomously provide life saving/sustaining treatment without seeking permission from a doctor. In Japan, EMT staff must seek permission from a doctor first before administering treatment, which can unnecessarily delay life saving care.
3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think I read during the week that Norway only had one.As a result of better education and more non vehicle options

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