Elderly drivers causing more traffic accidents
According to news in the national media, the number of traffic accidents and mishaps caused by elderly drivers is increasing.
According to Okinawa Police, drivers over 75 years of age were involved in 272 traffic accidents in 2015, two of them fatal. Police sources add that the number of traffic accidents involving elderly drivers has been increasing every year, as they totaled 295 in two years from 2012 to 2014.
Elderly people over 75 years of age who have a valid driver’s license have been increasing since 2013 when the total number in Okinawa was 38,088. The number rose to 45,747 as of the end of October this year. Traffic accidents by drivers aged from 65 to 74 years old increased from 491 in 2005 to 565 in 2015.
Currently, elderly drivers over 70 years old are required to take a traffic safety lesson when they renew their driver’s license.
At Naminoue Driving School in Naha City, 997 persons took the lesson in 2005, however, the number rose to 1,924 in 2015. An instructor at Naminoue Driving School said, “We used to offer the lecture only once a week when we first started, and now we do it twice every day.”
In Okinawa, elderly people can receive a certificate of record when they return their diver’s license. That entitles them for a 10% discount for bus and monorail services. Some taxi companies also offer the same discount.