Japanese seniors causing deadly havoc on roads

SENIORS are becoming the scourge of Japanese roads after it was reported older drivers have been wreaking havoc with catastrophic consequences across the country.

Elderly drivers have been involved in several horrifying incidents in the past year with a number of people - including a six-year-old boy - killed as a consequence.

And the recent carnage could just be the beginning.

According to recent statistics, drivers aged 75 and over were connected to 459 fatalities last year, 13 per cent of Japan's total.

A decade earlier, that number was sitting at 7.4 per cent!

The National Policy Agency called the spate of senior driver related accidents an "urgent problem".

However, with an ageing population - one quarter of the population of Japan is 65 or older - and lack of awareness surrounding health issue such as dementia, there is concern the problem could quickly escalate.

"Preventing road accidents caused by changes in the physical condition of drivers is an urgent issue that needs to be dealt with," Mineko Baba, of Keio University's Center for Integrated Medical Research, wrote in a research report last year.

The recent list of fatal accidents involving senior drivers is horrific:

  • Last October, an 87-year-old man crashed his light truck into a group of school children, killing one and injuring two others.
  • A 74-year-old woman killed an oncoming driver after she mounted the median in June.
  • And most recently, a 69-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of negligent driving after his truck collided with another vehicle, killing the 65-year-old driver.