Sat, Jan 12, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Program to reduce traffic toll among elderly praised

By Huang Mei-chu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An elderly man walks along a road in Hsinchu County’s Sinpu Township on Monday as a scooter passes.

Photo: Huang Mei-chu, Taipei Times

A project to reduce fatalities in vehicular accidents among elderly people last year has been a success, Hsinchu police said on Tuesday.

Twenty percent of Sinpu (新埔) and Guansi (關西) townships are aged 65 or older, and as the area is a popular tourist destination and hosts many events, it has a high rate of car accidents involving elderly people, said Chen Chi-ming (陳啟明), captain at the Hsinchu County Police Department’s Sinpu Precinct.

Over the past three years, 16 elderly people have been killed in traffic accidents, about 40 percent of the total, Chen said.

With 75 percent of overall fatal accidents in the area attributed to driver negligence, the precinct said that a project to remind drivers to watch out for people was warranted, Chen said.

The precinct collaborated with the local farmers’ associations and Pei Ling Guansi Hospital, and also enlisted illustrator Chen Kuan-feng (陳冠夆) to create logos for posters, Chen Chi-ming said.

The project created traffic signs saying: “Drive slowly” and put them up at critical crossroads and exits in the two towns, and also distributed stickers bearing the same message to be put up at local stores and on vehicles, he said.

The precinct also asked Chunghwa Telecom to send automated messages to cellphones as people enter the Sinpu Precinct’s jurisdiction, asking them to drive slowly and yield to elderly pedestrians, he said.

The project introduced contact details on reflective strips, so that officers could escort elderly people home if they forget where they live, he said.

Chen Chi-ming said that the precinct observed a significant decrease in car accidents involving elderly people over the past six months.

From August to December last year, there was only one incident of an elderly person being killed in a traffic incident, down from four in the same period of the previous year, while there were 18 deaths in the whole of 2017, but nine last year, he said.

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