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Fatal crashes attributed to elderly rise in 1st half

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The number of fatal accidents caused by drivers aged 75 or over came to 222 in January-June, up by 32 cases, or 16.8 percent, from a year earlier, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The figure was the second-highest total for a first half since 1990, the earliest year for which data are available, after the record high of 223 in 2014.

As for the cause of the accidents, mishandling the steering wheel was listed at the top with 60 cases, followed by inadequate checks for safety, at 54, and drivers not looking ahead carefully as they were lost in thought and due to other reasons, at 41.

The number who died in traffic accidents stood at 1,603, down 72 from the corresponding period last year. The number of fatalities through the whole of 2017 marked a record low.

Of them, 414 people, or over 70 percent, of 581 people who were killed while walking were aged 65 and over. Of the 414, some 60 percent had committed violations of laws or regulations in the accidents, including cases in which the victims failed to cross in crosswalks despite being near them.

According to the NPA, fatal accidents are prone to occur in the twilight period, which is an hour before and after sunset, in October-December.

In March last year, the revised road traffic law came into force in order to strengthen dementia checks for drivers aged 75 or older.

A total of 154,592 elderly drivers voluntarily surrendered their driver’s licenses in January-June, growing at a pace exceeding that of 2017.

, which saw 253,937 people returning their licenses throughout the year.

“We’d like [for drivers] to raise their consciousness for safe driving and for pedestrians to try to wear [garment using] reflective material and to walk on crosswalks,” an NPA official said.Speech

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