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New auto technology suggested to help elderly drivers

Posted April. 22, 2024 07:51,   

Updated April. 22, 2024 07:51


The accident occurred near Yeonsinnae Station in Seoul around 5 p.m. on February 29. A car driven by a 79-year-old man was suspected of pressing the accelerator pedal and crashed into other vehicles and passengers, killing an elderly man who picked up waste every day at Yeonsinnae Market and injuring 13 people. The accident that occurred at polls of the Nonghyup union president in March last year in Sunchang County, North Jeolla Province, which killed four people and injured 17, was also caused by a 74-year-old driver of a 1-ton truck. During the police investigation, the driver reportedly stated that he had mistaken the accelerator as the brake pedal.

With the number of elderly drivers over 65 approaching five million, the number of accidents triggered by drivers mistaking the accelerator for the brake pedal is increasing every year. Experts advised discussions to institutionalize the introduction of ‘good mobility’ technologies, such as devices to prevent driver pedal misoperation to prevent such accidents and save lives.

According to the National Police Agency, drivers aged 65 or older increased by about 42% over three years, from 3,682,632 in 2020 to 4,747,400 in 2023. The figure is expected to surge to 7.25 million in 2030 and 13.16 million in 2040. “The number of elderly drivers will exceed five million around 2025,” said a police official. At the same time, traffic accidents by elderly drivers are also growing every year. According to research results from the Samsung Transportation Safety Research Institute from 2020 to 2023, collision accidents among seniors aged 65 or older increased by an average of 14.4% per year.

Experts point out the need to prepare measures through new mobility technologies as well as policies to encourage elderly drivers to retire their driver licenses. “We should consider introducing a pedal misoperation prevention device that automatically controls the speed when the accelerator pedal is unexpectedly pressed all the way, at least for elderly drivers or vehicles in rural areas,” said Jang Hyo-seok, a senior researcher at Samsung Transportation Safety Research Institute.