18 February 2018

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11/15/2016 JAPAN

Too many accidents caused by elderly drivers, more rigid road traffic laws

The rate of road accidents caused by senior citizens is growing steadily. The new Road Traffic Laws will take effect from March 2017 to try to contain the increase in accidents.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - In Japan, the number of traffic accidents caused by the elderly is growing. According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, fatal accidents between 2003 and 2013 caused by the drivers over 75 years of age, increased by 20%. For this reason, the government intends to impose more accurate medical examinations for renewal of the license of elderly drivers. The problem becomes more and more important in the light of incidents in recent months.

In Yokohama on October 28, a 87 years old retiree hit and killed a six year old child who was going to school. The senior, Masaichi Goda, was arrested. During questioning , the police were puzzled by Goda, who claimed to have forgotten where he was going, and that was about to throw out the garbage but did not know how to get home. On November 11, the elderly man began serving a term of imprisonment of three months during which, some specialists will make sure of his mental condition. If it proves to be a case of senile dementia, Goda will not be condemned.

In a similar incident in Tachikawa November 12, the 83 year old Sachiko Uezu drove through a level crossing and hit and killed two pedestrians.

According to the National Police Agency, among all fatal traffic accidents involving cars and motorbikes throughout Japan, the proportion of those caused by people aged 75 years old or older is increasing every year, reaching 12.8 percent in 2015. Under the revised Road Traffic Law that is scheduled to take effect in March 2017, people aged 75 or older will have to be referred to a medical doctor for diagnosis if it is found in regular cognitive ability checkups that their memories and judgment are diminished.

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