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An increasing number of fatal accidents involving elderly drivers requires an urgent response, particularly because declining cognitive functions are suspected in many collisions caused by motorists aged 75 or older. Cognitive ability tests have become mandatory for senior motorists when they renew their license or have caused an accident, and those who feel they can no longer drive safely are being urged to voluntarily give up their license — and hundreds of thousands do so each year. Still, the number of fatal traffic accidents involving senior drivers per 100,000 license holders in 2018 picked up for the first time in five years.

Concern lingers that losing their licenses could deprive elderly people of a crucial means of daily transport, particularly in rural areas where public transportation services have been cut due to depopulation and falling profitability. Efforts are afoot to provide alternatives to meet the needs of such people, including experiments involving self-driving bus services, although hurdles remain before they will ever see practical use. These efforts need to be accelerated to prevent more traffic accidents involving senior motorists.

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