’12 traffic accident death toll at 4,411

Kyodo

The number of fatalities as a result of road accidents in 2012 fell by 252 from the previous year to 4,411 for the 12th straight year of decline, thanks mainly to increased use of seat belts and improvements in brake technologies, the government said Tuesday.

Among the fatalities, 2,264 were people aged 65 or older, accounting for 51.3 percent, the highest rate since comparable data started being made available in 1967.

Of the senior fatalities, 49 percent were involved in road accidents while walking, while 26.1 percent were driving cars and 16.1 percent were riding bicycles, according to the report.

The number of alcohol-related road fatalities decreased by 14 from the previous year to 256, the lowest since 1990, following the introduction of tougher punishments for drinking and driving.