The number of traffic accidents caused by elderly drivers aged 65 or over rose more than three-fold from 2001 to 2011, while the total number of accidents decreased.
According to a report by the Korean Road Traffic Authority (KoROAD) on Thursday, the number of accidents caused by the elderly rose 3.6 times from 3,768 in 2001 to 13,596 in 2011. Over the same period, the total number of road accidents fell 15 percent from 260,579 to 221,711.
This means elderly drivers were responsible for 6.1 percent of all accidents in 2011, up from just 1.4 percent a decade earlier. This outpaces the rate at which Korea is becoming a graying society, as elderly people made up 7.6 percent of the total population in 2001 and 11.4 percent in 2011.
The proportion of elderly people holding driver's licenses also grew from 1.8 percent of the total population in 2001 to 5.3 percent in 2011.
"Elderly drivers say they experience difficulty seeing road signs or hearing cars honk their horns, and they fail to react quickly enough when something unforeseen happens," KoROAD said.