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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Governors call for tiny automobiles specially designed for elderly drivers


FUKUOKA — An association consisting mainly of 36 governors is supporting the development of extra small two-seat vehicles designed for the aged.

The governors represent prefectures with areas where the lack of fully developed mass transit systems means that elderly people need to drive.

The association, established in May 2009 at the initiative of Wataru Aso, then governor of Fukuoka Prefecture, conducted a survey covering about 10,000 people across Japan on the use of vehicles by senior citizens.

The group also worked with the Fukuoka Prefectural Police to analyze some 190 accidents caused by elderly motorists.

The association found that the vehicles best suited to older people are two-seaters that are smaller than existing minivehicles and designed for driving near the home without using expressways.

In addition, such vehicles need to have accident-prevention features, such as wide viewing angles and technology to prevent the driver from pressing the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.

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