There are more accidents caused by senior drivers in Japan. Have you heard about such incidents?

Q: There are more accidents caused by senior drivers mistaking the gas pedal for the brake pedal in Japan. Have you heard about such incidents?

A: Elderly people driving has been a big problem for a very long time in the US. Since the vast majority of people have cars, the issue of “when do we take grandma’s keys away?” has been a big one for quite a while.

In most states, a doctor can report a person to the department of motor vehicles if they feel the person is unable to drive safely, but most doctors fear doing this, because they think they will lose their patient. Similarly, if you feel your relative cannot safely drive, you can ask their doctor to revoke their license, but it rarely happens. When my grandmother became an unsafe driver, my grandfather actually sold the family car in order to keep her off the streets!

Many people support mandatory re-testing at a certain age, but so far these polices have been shot down as discriminatory. Instead, our government continues to allow elderly people to endanger everyone else on the road. We often hear stories of elderly people getting confused and driving on the wrong side of the road/highway, or in some cases, dementia and Alzheimer’s patients leaving their home to go somewhere, and getting lost. A few years ago an elderly woman was found in another state! She was only supposed to be driving to the grocery store, but she forgot where she was going and just kept driving.

In my own personal experience, I once had a scary incident when I went to visit my dentist. I was sitting in the chair in the x-ray room, waiting for the x-ray tech to come back and I heard a motor revving loudly, nearby. It revved VERY loudly a few times, and suddenly glass, revving gravel and debris came flying down the hall, right past the room I was sitting in! I jumped up and looked out the door to find that a car had driven through the front of the building! The elderly woman driving had confused reverse and drive. She was trying to back out of her parking spot, but instead drove clear through the front door/window and reception desk. Those of us who were inside, both patients and staff, were trapped there for about 2 hours. The fire department needed to remove the car from the front of the building, clear the debris, and then use wooden beams to shore up the front of the building before it was safe for us to walk out. (The building owner also received a huge fine for not having a second exit, as not having an emergency exit is a violation of fire code!) Luckily, no one was hurt, so we were all able to laugh about it, but it was a very serious incident!


Q: 日本では、高齢者のブレーキとアクセルの踏み間違えによる事故が増えています。

A: 米国では、高齢者の運転について長年問題になっているわ。大半の人が車を持っているから、いつおばあちゃんから車のキーを取り上げるかという問題はかなり長い間懸念されていることよ。


多くの人がある年齢になったら再試験を受ける義務を設けることに賛成しているけど、これまでのところ、この政策は差別だとして却下されてきたわ。それで、政府は高齢者が他の人たちを危険に陥れることを野放しにし続けている。高齢者が混乱して道路・高速道路の反対車線を運転したり、外出した認知症やアルツハイマー病患者が迷子になったというのを聞くわ。 数年前には、おばあさんが別の州で見つかったこともあったわよ!彼女はスーパーまで運転するはずだったんだけど、どこに向かっているかわからなくなって運転し続けていたの。