National

After rash of accidents, Tokyo to pay 90% toward equipment to prevent sudden acceleration

JIJI, Kyodo

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will cover about 90 percent of the purchase costs for equipment to prevent vehicles from suddenly moving forward when the accelerator is accidentally stepped on, Gov. Yuriko Koike said Tuesday.

The 90 percent emergency subsidy will continue to be available for at least a year so that many elderly drivers will be able to install the equipment quickly, Koike told a Tokyo assembly meeting after a series of traffic accidents by elderly drivers.

The metropolitan government is expected to start accepting applications for the subsidy before the end of March 2020, officials said. Details such as restrictions on eligibility will be decided later.

Such equipment currently sells for about ¥30,000 to ¥40,000, according to automotive goods retailer Autobacs Seven Co.

Koike also said the metropolitan government is considering taking measures to encourage elderly people to return their driver’s licenses, including holding consultation sessions for their families and asking related bodies to expand benefits for those who voluntarily return their license.

On Monday, Koike visited an automotive goods store in Tokyo and tried sitting in a vehicle with such equipment installed.