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