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Asia Minute: Aging Drivers: A Growing Safety Concern


Pedestrian deaths remain a focus of concern across Hawai’i – where they are running at roughly seven times the pace of last year’s fatalities. In parts of Asia, there is another safety issue that’s drawing a lot of attention.

There’s a growing concern around several parts of Asia about aging drivers.

South Korea is the latest country to document increased car accidents involving drivers 65 and older — accidents that have risen from about 15,000 six years ago to nearly 27,000 last year.

Starting next year, drivers 75 and older will have to take a driver’s aptitude test every three years.

In Japan, a new law was passed last year that screens drivers 75 and older for dementia.

This summer, police reported that more than 2-million licensed drivers took cognitive function tests in the first year of the new law. About three-percent of them were flagged for issues with dementia, and more than 22,000 surrendered their licenses. 

In Hong Kong, there’s a focus on aging public transport drivers. Government figures show that ten years ago, about 17 percent of public transport drivers were over the age of 60.

Credit Alexander Pasaric / Pexels

Today that’s more than doubled — while the age group’s involvement in traffic accidents has roughly tripled.

City officials say they’re having trouble recruiting younger drivers — with a dramatic result.

More than 32,000 bus and taxi drivers in Hong Kong are now in their seventies — nearly 3,000 are in their 80’s — and 42 of them are in their 90’s.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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