National

Japan aims to offer subsidies to elderly drivers for cars with safety systems

JIJI

The government plans to subsidize the purchases of cars with extra safety functions for those age 65 or over as part of steps to reduce traffic accidents, sources have said.

Up to ¥100,000 will likely be provided per new vehicle equipped with an automatic braking system or a function to curb acceleration when the gas pedal is mistakenly hit instead of the brake pedal, the sources said Wednesday.

The subsidy amount is expected to be ¥70,000 for minivehicles and ¥100,000 for larger cars, the sources said. Luxury vehicles are unlikely to be covered.

The government will include the program in an economic stimulus package planned to be drawn up late next month. It hopes to earmark funds under a supplementary budget for fiscal 2019, which ends in March, and its full budget for fiscal 2020, the sources said.

According to the government, the number of fatal traffic accidents caused by drivers age 75 or over is higher than that of accidents triggered by younger drivers. The proportion of drivers age 75 or over has been increasing year after year in line with the nation’s graying population.