| In 2003, seniors (aged 65 or more) accounted for 40% of the 7,702 people who were killed in traffic
accidents. Along with the aging of the population, the increase in traffic accident deaths among seniors has become an issue that must be tackled urgently. ITARDA INFORMATION has studied pedestrian and
bicycle accidents, which often involve seniors, and analyzed the characteristics of traffic accidents of seniors
as compared with accidents of young and middle-aged people (aged 16-64).
|* Traffic accident deaths, although on the decline among the young and the middle are on the rise among
seniors. Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths per 100,000 population are -aged,particularly high among seniors.
* Deaths of senior bicyclists occur most often in the daytime when they are crossing intersections and crash
into vehicles approaching from their right or left. In the daytime, the direction from which cars approach
makes little difference, but crashes with cars coming from the left (seniors coming from the right of car
drivers) are more than twice as common as from the opposite direction.
* The number of deaths of senior pedestrians is especially large when they are crossing a single road (not an
intersection) at night from the right-hand direction of the car driver. Accidents when crossing from the left
tend to be more common in the daytime, but crossing "from the right" of the car driver results in a
remarkably greater number of fatal accidents.
* Senior pedestrians' fatal accidents are mainly due to judgment errors, whereas senior bicyclists' fatal
accidents are most often the result of their recognition errors. This tendency indicates that seniors have
difficulty in adequately recognizing and judging traffic circumstances.
* Drivers should know that a car's headlamps are adjusted to make the distance illuminated on the right side
shorter than on the left side, in order not to dazzle oncoming drivers. Drivers therefore must pay utmost
attention to pedestrians crossing the road from the right at night.
* The number of traffic accident deaths per 100,000 population and the ratio of primary parties to accidents
is lowest among people in their 30s, and rises steadily from the 40s onward. Thus, the accident tendency
of seniors is an extension of that of the middle-aged.
* Seniors do not exhibit accident patterns or causes of accidents particular to their generation, but merely
show a stronger tendency of the young and the middle-aged.
* Traffic safety measures for seniors should consist of, rather than measures especially for seniors, basic
pedestrian and bicyclist education: i.e., crossing at a pedestrian crossing, making sure it is safe before
crossing a road or street, wearing bright-colored clothing of reflective material at night, always stopping
at intersections and locations with stop signs, etc.
Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA)