Following a rise in fatal traffic accidents involving senior citizens in Japan, authorities are considering a change to licensing legislation that would require drivers over a certain age to only pilot safety-enhanced vehicles with features like automatic brakes.
The changes, being developed by the National Police Agency in collaboration with various national ministries, will be proposed to Japan's Cabinet, sources recently told
The Japan Times
According to Japan's National Police Agency, the incidence of fatal accidents caused by drivers over the age of 75 in Japan has almost doubled in the last ten years.
In 2008, fatal accidents caused by that age group accounted for 8.7 per cent of the total number in the country; in 2018, with 460 fatalities caused by drivers over 75, that figure was tallied at 14.8 per cent.
The Agency commissioned three panels of experts to come up with some potential solutions to the growing issue. The new license would limit certain drivers to certain areas at certain times in certain vehicles, likely ones that include automatic braking and fail-safes for when the wrong pedal is pressed.
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This April, an 88-year-old driver and former government official struck and killed a mother and her daughter, and injured six others, in Tokyo.
And even more recently in the city of Fukuoka, an 81-year-old driver collided with five other vehicles in an intersection, killing himself and his wife and injuring nine others.
In both cases, it is believed the driver mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal.