October 19, 2016 09:35
The advanced age of taxi drivers in Seoul has recently become a hot issue after a number of them breathed their last behind the wheel.
According to the Korea Transportation Safety Authority, 19.5 percent of all taxi drivers in the nation were 65 or older at the end of last year, and in Seoul 51 percent are over 60.
According to a 2013 study by the KTSA, a whopping 73.1 percent of cab drivers over 65 who had driven taxis for more than 25 years were involved in car accidents in the previous three years, compared to only 7.5 percent who had driven taxis for less than five years.
That means elderly drivers are 10 times more likely to get into accidents than younger ones.
The government now requires bus drivers over 65 to take aptitude tests every three years, and those over 70 every year. But taxi drivers over 65, who outnumber elderly bus drivers seven-fold, are not required to undergo such tests.
Meanwhile, traffic accidents involving elderly drivers have grown at an alarming rate.
According to the KTSA, traffic accidents caused by drivers over 65 rose 70 percent from 2011 to 2015 but the total number of accidents grew just 4.7 percent.
Elderly drivers are also more likely to die in these accidents. While the overall number of fatalities fell from 5,229 in 2011 to 4,621 last year, fatalities among drivers over 65 rose from 1,724 to 1,814.
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