Japan is planning a new elderly driver’s licencing system

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Words: Nile Bijoux   |   Photos Kyodo
13 Jun 2019

After a surge in fatal accidents involving elderly drivers, the Japanese government is planning a new driver licence system for the elderly. Part of its approach is to limit seniors to driving only cars that have certain active safety systems like AEB.

The proposal will be put to the Cabinet later this month, with the National Police Agency, land ministry and other ministries to hold further fine-tuning discussions. A draft will be released by the end of the current fiscal year.

As it stands, the new licence system will target drivers aged 75 years and older, who are required to take a cognitive assessment test when they renew their licences. It will limit drivers to certain types of vehicles at specific times in certain areas.

The government will look at ways to popularise cars with active safety equipment as well as providing senior citizens with sufficient transport options.

According to Japan’s National Police Agency, there were 460 fatal traffic accidents in Japan last year caused by drivers aged 75 or over. At least two accidents, one in April and another earlier in June, were believed to be caused by elderly drivers mistaking the throttle pedal for the brake.

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