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Japan Transportation

Elderly Drivers In Japan Could Be Limited To Vehicles With Automatic Braking (japantimes.co.jp) 148

AmiMoJo writes: Japan's National Police Agency has proposed several new rules to regulate elderly drivers, including limiting them to vehicles with automatic braking systems to increase public safety. "The panel was tasked with finding ways to mitigate the risks associated with dementia, poor vision and deteriorating physical strength associated with seniors," reports the Japan Times. "Deadly traffic accidents caused by people 75 or older are on the rise, though fatal accidents overall are on the decline." Automatic braking systems apply the car's brakes if a collision is imminent. Separately Japanese authorities are offering elderly drivers who give up their licenses a discount on their funerals.
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Elderly Drivers In Japan Could Be Limited To Vehicles With Automatic Braking

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  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @09:38AM (#54769089)

    why are you letting demented, blind, weak and slow people operate heavy machinery?

    • Because Japan is becoming a gerontocracy (and so is Germany, by the way).

      • The USA will to unless we get lots of immigrants. It is a good thing the current administration is pro immigration. Just loook at all three of his wives, and his hotels were Chinese invest in the hotel/condo and get paid back by getting a suite built just for them. Bonus is they then get an instant green card. (Note this policy has been in place for several administrations. It is not new)

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by yodleboy ( 982200 )
          Oh jeez, get a grip. Trump is not against "immigration". What he is rightfully against are illegal immigrants (which this country is much more lenient with than most other countries), and abuses of the immigration laws. He's also against just waving through people coming from parts of the world known to harbor terrorists. On that note, he's only 'banning' people coming from specific airports within specific countries. That generally leaves the other 2398702348092384 airports around the world untouched.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by peragrin ( 659227 )

            Obama deported more people than bush did. Deportions went up drastically. And actually have dropped under trump(primarily because he can't hire people).

            And trump also wants to ban immigrants who want to setup new businesses in the USA. That ban is worded that way as the blanket ban he tried was rejected. Do not forget the current ban is attempt number two. He wants a full on ban.

            Also the majority of terrorists are Saudi in origin yet Saudi Arabia is not on the list. I suggest you lookup the makeup of the

    • Could be that the government doesn't want to simply revoke a necessary freedom for it's citizens even if it means increased safety and decreased deaths. You know, sort of like how we over here say "No, why would we limit gun sales?"

      Could also be that it's not really an issue given the lack of statistics on increasing deaths. Japanese politicians are likely just as susceptible as american ones at fearmongering and then coming up with fake solutions to the fake problems they were elected on.

      Finally the
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "...revoke a necessary freedom for it's citizens..."

        This statement reveals a deep misunderstanding of the writer, and his countrymen, who no doubt is a US citizen. ...Cause its in the constitution that everyone has the inalienable right to happiness..., which in the US means to buy and drive however, and whatever, without any meaningful schooling and training.
        I would be willing to bet a lot of money that 99.99999999999% of US drivers would never pass a typical drivers license test, in English, in any EU cou

        • Having driven a bit in Detroit I think you exaggerate. You forget that the most important bit of learning to drive is experience, so even if the US driving tests set a low bar, inside of a year they will be more or less where typical young drivers from elsewhere would be, skill wise.

          Of course you could actually look for some data to support your contention, for example what is the crash rate of US citizens on holiday in the EU compared with Australians (who have a ridiculously long probationary period, som

        • "...revoke a necessary freedom for it's citizens..."

          This statement reveals a deep misunderstanding of the writer, and his countrymen, who no doubt is a US citizen. ...Cause its in the constitution that everyone has the inalienable right to happiness..., which in the US means to buy and drive however, and whatever, without any meaningful schooling and training.

          I'm aware that Japanese drivers licenses are much harder to get than US licenses. I'd suggest though it's because they have much better public transit, not... some absurd interpretation of the constitution.

          By "necessary freedom" I wasn't speaking as a constitutional scholar or a legal definition of "freedom." I meant someone who drives in Japan likely doesn't live in a major metropolitan area with convenient public transit, so they need a car in order to move around. I'm aware that's not a legally enshri

      • Could be that the government doesn't want to simply revoke a necessary freedom for it's citizens even if it means increased safety and decreased deaths.

        I would guess that it is very similar to Florida. AARP practically controls the state of Florida. You could never get a new law passed that restricted elderly drivers in Florida even though there are a lot of them that should not be driving anymore. Japan, too, has an aging population that is not likely to be okay with restricting their own rights.

        You know, sort of like how we over here say "No, why would we limit gun sales?"

        You do realize that there is a constitutional amendment that makes this difficult to legislate, right? California just had several gun control laws struck dow

        • You could never get a new law passed that restricted elderly drivers in Florida even though there are a lot of them that should not be driving anymore.

          This is one scenario where I'm all for letting the "free market" take care of the situation.

          Over 60 and have a self driving car? Cheap insurance.

          Over 60 and have a self stopping car? Moderately priced insurance.

          Over 60 and want to drive your 90s Buick? Very high priced insurance.

      • The greying of japanese society is a looming issue. Making the increasing number of elderly immobile is going to put more strain on the country as a whole.

        This is why Japanese car companies are always working on super-wacky ultra-miniature automobiles. They always present them as some kind of lifestyle tool for the young, and they highlight their communications capabilities with cute demos involving crap like teenagers meeting up for ice cream, like some kind of Archie comic. But in reality, they're preparing to deliver mobility for the elderly, and the communications facilities are going to be necessary to track when one of these people is expiring as they r

    • Try to get a bill through to pay for reliable public transportation (along with the taxes to fund it) and let me know how that turns out.
  • Asian driver jokes aside, I find this policy to be unfairly critical of a large segment of the population who aren't senile or suffering from a major illness. There should be a yearly form that your doctor signs off on saying your vision and response time is as good as any. From that, i doubt Japanese seniors aren't a horrible road threat as it may seem to their insurance companies.

    • It's not just vision and response. There's also hearing and the range of motion of the neck to consider, as well as what medications they're on.. Then there's also peripheral vision, which can't be checked with an eye chart. And night blindness, which is a big thing for many drivers of all ages who don't seem to be aware that they're leaning forward over the steering wheel at night to try to read the signs better, and don't even notice they're doing it since it crept up on them slowly. And then there's incr

  • by roubles ( 716740 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @09:50AM (#54769145)
    Its not just the elderly. Teenagers. Distracted drivers. Epileptics. Narcoleptics. Suddenly incapacitated people (heart attacks, strokes). Drunk drivers. Texters. Everyone would benefit from cars that maintain their lanes and automatically brake. This is technology we already have and we already mass produce. This rule should, and most likely will, be expanded to all drivers in all cars - all the time.

    Elon Musk: "In the distant future, I think people may outlaw driving cars because it's too dangerous. You can't have a person driving a two-ton death machine."

    Its happening.
    • Elon Musk: "In the distant future, I think people may outlaw driving cars because it's too dangerous. You can't have a person driving a two-ton death machine."

      Larry Niven cited turning off autonomous driving features as a reason to be given the death penalty in his "Known Universe" stories written in the 1960s. Society benefits from safer use of automobiles and an increased supply of spare parts.

    • before too much longer, if only because of insurance companies. It's going to be the death of the auto body industry though. Heck, this plus single payer health care (to cover the injury costs) could make Auto insurance all but obsolete. If nothing else it'd drive prices way down as the risk drops to nil and more players could afford to enter the market.
      • Carbon fiber bodies make body shops doomed, medium term. CF fabrication cost has it's own Moore's law analog, the fit isn't bad, can't go as long as Moore's law did, but for now, it's cheaper every year, by a decent %.

        CF Hoods used to cost a few thousand dollars. Granting some of them now only have one layer of CF and weigh exactly as much as a fiberglass hood, the world has always had posers.

  • Wrong Direction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:06AM (#54769217)

    Why not mandate this for all vehicles?

    Are we trying to preserve the right for a privileged demographic to crash into things?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I'd like to see it mandatory on new cars, but they are talking about not allowing older drivers to keep using their old cars.

    • Why not mandate this for all vehicles?

      Are you serious? It's expensive to change all the cars to the latest generation all at once. I'm sure some retrofitting kits must exist, but I'll bet those are super expensive and probably can't be applied to all the cars or all the trucks (considering the liability and all the testing that must be done).

      Also, it will be easier for older people to replace their used cars/trucks if they can resell them at a decent price to the rest of the population. Also, what you're describing will happen eventually for ev

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        You could say "all new vehicles are required to have automatic braking after july 8th 2020" Then they have 3 years that's how that usually works anyway.

        It will take a very long time for the older stuff to work it's way out of the market but it's still the most reasonable way to do it.

        Personally i've yet to use one with automatic braking my concern is how badly does it screw up when it screws up?

  • "Separately Japanese authorities are offering elderly drivers who give up their licenses a discount on their funerals."
    Dang dude.

    • For an even bigger discount, just hop into this meat grinder, and our paid employee will say very nice things about the paste that comes out, before it gets pelletized and sent to a fish farm.
  • Just remember people, it's a different culture.
    Japan has an aging population and very packed urban centers...
    Driving classes are very strict, they have a policy about new drivers using different plates, clear identification, and not driving by themselves.
    That and public transportation being very nice there.

    It's a country that is anxiously waiting for autonomous cars to arrive.

    Here in Brazil, elderly drivers aren't much of a problem... in fact, among all age ranges they are the ones least involved in car acc

    • I've long advocated 'yellow bumpers' for all new drivers (F1 rookie style). They have to go a year without tickets or accidents to legally take off the yellow warning tape. Some drivers would _never_ get their yellow bumpers off.

    • It also means different things to someone in Japan than it does in the USA. In the US, driving is freedom of movement, because public transportation tends to be poor to nonexistent. Even in major cities, NYC/SF/LA/DC, it's decidedly lacking compared to most other major cities worldwide. Take away someone's license, and they can't get anywhere unless someone else drives them.

      It's an entirely different story in Japan. Public transportation is everywhere. Even if remote towns up in the mountains, there are c
  • Has anyone bothered to determine whether faster braking would have prevented these accidents? "No, let's just throw technology at it and hope for the best!" Having been around many seniors and watching them drive, my guess is that it's mostly that they're "turning into things" or getting in the way of normal traffic flow.

    In fact, the last time I was hit was by a senior who turned into the side of me while I was crossing an intersection, even though he had already stopped because his green turn-arrow
    • Yep, those little tiny lidar pulses. Nasty things, those.

      Look, you've got for years with just aluminum foil. In a car, you're surrounded by sheet metal. Orders of magnitude better.

      You should feel all safe and warm inside your Faraday Shield.

      • by anegg ( 1390659 )

        Um.... its LIDAR (light radar) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lidar [wikipedia.org]. Visible and near visible (ultra violet and near infra red) light that is being sprayed around. You know, like what surrounds you all day long, especially while you are outside? So, while its true that the detection uses photons that are on the electro-magnetic spectrum, its not the same risk as from microwave frequencies.

      • You should feel all safe and warm inside your Faraday Shield.

        Cars are not faraday cages, as they are not free of sizable gaps in their metal layer — we call them windows. It doesn't take much glass to block most UV and most IR, but that's not what faraday cages are for. They're for blocking radio frequency energy, and they depend on being conductive. You could solve this problem with metallic tints, though, and they can be retrofit easily enough. Into most vehicles, anyway. My A8 is supposed to be a PITA to tint, which is too bad because I'd really like a metal

  • The only way this is fair is if vehicles with such capabilities cost the same as other vehicles, even taking into account the used car market.
    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      Since when has Japan been about fairness?

      • I would hope that any government wouldn't actively create higher barriers for the poorer people than for the wealthy. If Japan does, I'm just happy I don't live there. Solutions that require a technology to be enforced on a person with the intention of making society safer as a whole should be funded by that society as a whole, not by the individual.
  • Seriously, in the future, we may wish to require AP equipped cars for elderly, as well as those with a DUI.
    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      Seriously, in the future, we may wish to require AP equipped cars for elderly, as well as those with a DUI.

      It's bad enough that old folks and drunks mix up the pedals and crash cars. Now you want them to be armor piercing too?

      (Yes, sarcasm. But I have no idea what "AP equipped" means in an automotive context.)

    • Seriously, in the future, we may wish to require AP equipped cars for elderly, as well as those with a DUI.

      All major automakers have voluntarily agreed to include automatic emergency braking by by September of 2022. I'd also like to see lane keeping assistance in those vehicles, but that's still pretty good. There will be no need to require it. I, for one, would really like to have AEB as a feature so long as I can turn it off. I don't mind having to turn it off again every hour or so. Unfortunately, my car doesn't have ESP, so even if a retrofit product were to be made available, I could not reasonably install

      • well, AP will be here before 2022. In fact, Tesla's AP should be level 5 rated within a year. Then others will take time. Most likely, the Germans and Americans will end up buying either Apple or Google's AP who appears to be superior to all except for Tesla.

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