SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of car accidents caused by senior drivers more than quadrupled over the past 10 years, insurance data showed Monday, leading to 304.8 billion won (US$277.21 million) in damage.
The accident tally for private drivers from the Korea Insurance Development Institute showed there were some 29,000 accidents caused by drivers aged 70 or over, up from 7,000 in 2006. These senior drivers last year accounted for 3.8 percent of all car accidents, up from 1.3 percent in 2006.
By comparison, car accidents by drivers under 20 and in their 30s both fell in numbers. For people in their 40s, the number of accidents increased, but their proportion to the total fell.
The amount of damage caused by elderly drivers consequently increased, from 53.8 billion won in 2006 to 304.8 billion won last year. In proportion, last year’s sum came to 4.2 percent of the total, up from 1.3 percent 10 years ago. The average damage caused by senior drivers was higher than for all age groups, amounting to 1.88 million won per case compared with the overall average of 1.62 million won.
The fatality rate was also the highest for elderly people who take the wheel, standing at 0.32 percent, while the average for all age groups was 0.23 percent.
Experts who follow social changes say the data reflects the country’s aging society. The number of those 70 and older jumped from 2.68 million in 2005 to 4.03 million last year, an increase of 50.3 percent.
“We need to think about adopting road safety measures of advanced countries, such as conducting skill tests for driver’s licenses that take into account the age of the driver and changes in his or her physical conditions,” an insurance industry official said.