Japan saw 2,610 deaths due to traffic accidents in 2022, marking a new record low for the sixth consecutive year, figures from the country's police agency showed Wednesday.
There were 26 fewer deaths in 2022 compared with the previous year, in the lowest figure since 1948, the first year for which comparable data is available. People age 65 and over made up the largest demographic at 56.4% with 1,471 deaths, although that figure was down by 49 from 2021, according to the National Police Agency.
But accidents involving elderly drivers as well as pedestrians have continued to occur, and in May the agency imposed measures such as mandatory driving tests for those 75 and over with a record of traffic rules violations in order to renew their licenses.
Osaka Prefecture had the most number of deaths for the first time at 141, followed by Aichi at 137 and Tokyo at 132. Meanwhile, Tottori and Shimane prefectures saw the lowest number of deaths with 14 and 16, respectively.
The rate of deaths was highest in Okayama Prefecture at 3.94 killed in accidents per every 100,000 people, followed by 3.82 in Gifu and 3.80 in Kochi.
The agency said it believes that deaths from traffic accidents have declined as a result of road safety measures that have been put in place. In 2022, there were 301,193 accidents and 356,419 injuries recorded.
The record high for road deaths in Japan was in 1970 with 16,765 killed.
The government has set the goal of reducing the number of yearly road deaths to 2,000 or lower by 2025.
"We will direct police to take strong action on an array of measures, such as protecting the safety of child and elderly pedestrians, and ensuring that cyclists comply with traffic rules," Koichi Tani, chairperson of the National Public Safety Commission, said in a statement.