Electric Wheelchair Accidents at Rail Crossings Surge in Japan

Society

Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)--The National Institute of Technology and Evaluation said Thursday that the number of fatal accidents involving electric wheelchairs stuck at rail crossing surged to five in January-November from a total of six over the past some 10 years.

Electric wheelchairs can be used by people who have weak arms without the need for driver's license because such people are regarded as pedestrians under the Road Traffic Act.

They are thus a key means of transportation for the elderly and people with disabilities.

According to NITE, a total of 16 accidents involving electric wheelchairs at rail crossings were reported between fiscal 2009 and the end of November 2018, with 11 people killed and four injured seriously.

According to the Consumer Affairs Agency and prefectural police departments, a total of five people were killed in such accidents in the prefectures of Yamanashi, Aichi, Hyogo and Wakayama in January-September this year. The victims were aged 69 to 90.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press