Forcing elderly drivers to do mandatory brain tests slashes car crash rates by ... trends now
Forcing older drivers to do mandatory cognitive tests slashes the rate of vehicle collisions among older adults by one in ten, a study suggests.
Researchers in Japan studied the impact of a pensioners rule imposed in 2017 that required all people over 75 years old to do a cognitive test every five years in order to keep their license.
Within two years, the country saw a drop in car accidents among older adults by almost 4,000. But at the same time, injuries among over-75s on bicycles and sidewalks rose.
Cognition slows as we age, slowing reaction times to events on the road such as someone running in front of a car or a vehicle applying an emergency brake, raising the risk of collisions among elderly drivers.
Cognitive tests for drivers over 75 years old in Japan have led to a fall in car crashes, data shows (stock image)
Elderly adults in the US and UK accounting for a slightly higher proportion of accidents than others by age group, campaigners say.
In Japan, people over 75 years old have been required to take cognitive tests when they renew their license since 2017.
This involves testing a driver's memory — by getting them to recall illustrations without being offered prompts — and perception of time — by being asked the year, month, date, day of the week and current time.
Results are given as either 'have risk of dementia' or 'have no risk of dementia'.
Japan requires over-75s to renew their driving licenses every five years, in line with the amount of time between renewals for all adults.
In the US, laws vary widely by state — but most require senior drivers to take a vision test when getting their licenses renewed. In the UK, drivers over 70 years old must renew their license every three years — rather than the standard 10.
In the latest study, scientists at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Maryland analyzed 602,885 police reports of collisions among drivers