Japanese police estimate more than 10 times as many elderly drivers will have to undergo dementia tests under new rules this year, compared with 2015.
The revised road traffic law requires drivers aged 75 or older to see doctors if they show signs of possible dementia during preliminary tests for license renewal. The current law does not have such requirements.
NHK surveyed local police headquarters across the nation last month before the revised law takes effect on Sunday.
Police estimate about 66,400 drivers will be referred to doctors this year, and 13,700 of them are thought to return their licenses voluntarily instead of seeing doctors.
Police say at least 52,700 people will undergo medical examinations. That’s 13 times more than 2 years ago, when about 4,000 drivers were tested by doctors.
Keio University Professor and dementia expert Masaru Mimura says what matters most is how medical professionals can respond to the growing number of elderly who still drive. He says police and doctors should cooperate to support senior drivers.
Source and image: NHK
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