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Innovation helping to prevent accidents by elderly drivers

8 July 2019 19:19

TOKYO. KAZINFORM Japan is turning to technology to help prevent traffic accidents caused by elderly drivers in the country, a rising problem as the populace ages.

Orix Auto Corp. offers a digitized service that enables senior citizens to measure their abilities behind the wheel via personal computers and smartphones, Kyodo News reports.

With "Ever Drive," the company collects data on driving behaviors using a device fitted to the vehicle that measures the frequency of sudden braking and acceleration as well as speeding in order to visualize the risks.

The monthly fee is 2,980 yen ($27).

"When we started the service in 2017, we had anticipated users would be professionals such as taxi drivers and truck drivers, but more than 80 percent of the current users are the elderly aged from their late 70s to early 80s," a company official said.

The official said the service is providing an opportunity for family members to begin a conversation to convince elderly drivers to give up their licenses.

"When a parent and offspring talk about returning the parent's license, they often get into emotional arguments, with the child saying it is dangerous for the elderly to drive and the parent arguing that he or she can still drive safely," the official said.

"If Ever Drive is used, they can cite specific numbers in their discussions, so there is the upside that they both can feel more convinced," the official said.

For senior citizens who have given up driving, a cutting-edge powered wheelchair offers an alternative, enabling them to move freely around the neighborhood.

"Now I enjoy going out, since I can easily go to the convenience store or drug store," said 91-year-old Akio Takahashi, a Tokyo resident who tested the powered wheelchair called Whill in May.


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