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Japan unveils moves to stop car crashes caused by elderly

AFP|
Crashes led to this development
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Crashes led to this development

Japan announced a series of measures to prevent car accidents caused by elderly drivers, including emergency brakes and vehicle-free zones around schools, following a string of crashes involving children.

One in four people aged 80 or over drives a car every day, the government said in a survey, one of the many challenges faced by rapidly ageing Japan.

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Accelerator instead the brake
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Accelerator instead the brake

Japan has been rocked by several tragic incidents involving elderly drivers ploughing into school children, with suspicions that the ageing motorists had inadvertently pressed the accelerator instead of the brake.

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Past incidents
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Past incidents

In May, a car smashed into a group of kindergarten children in western Japan, killing two toddlers and injuring others.

The previous month, a car driven by an 87-year-old man killed a mother and her three-year-old daughter.

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Emergency safety inspection
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Emergency safety inspection

Tokyo will carry out an "emergency safety inspection" of school commuting routes by the end of September and promote the use of cars with emergency stopping devices to counteract accidental stamping on the accelerator.

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New category of driving licence
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New category of driving licence

The National Policy Agency will also consider introducing a new category of driving licence for elderly people, allowing them to operate only cars equipped with emergency stopping devices, she added.

Details of these measures will be fleshed out by the end of March but officials have begun working on policies that can be carried out immediately, she said.

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