An average of eight people died every day last year in traffic accidents, Ministry of Transportation and Communications statistics showed yesterday.
The ministry unveiled the figures at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, where ministry officials were scheduled to brief lawmakers about the nation’s progress in keeping its roads safe for all users.
Although the number of people killed in traffic accidents fell from 3,219 in 2012 to 2,865 last year, the figure still came to an average of eight fatalities per day, the ministry said.
The number of elderly and young people killed in traffic accidents has been increasing, it said.
Last year, 457,382 people were killed or injured in traffic accidents, which resulted in estimated social cost of more than NT$500 billion (US$16.5 billion), the ministry said.
Forty percent of those killed in traffic accidents were seniors, half of whom were killed while riding motorcycles, the ministry said.
Elderly people also made up 70 percent of victims killed in traffic accidents involving pedestrians, it said.
The number of victims in the 18-to-24 age group rose 14.1 percent from 2018, it added.
However, the number of drunk-driving cases dropped from 6,658 in 2015 to 4,069 last year, following the enforcement of new regulations against drunk driving in July, the ministry said, adding that the number of drunk-driving victims last year also fell by 23 from 2018.
The ministry said that it is holding information sessions in communities to raise safety awareness in a bid to reduce the number of elderly people killed in traffic accidents.
It has also allocated additional funds to improve pedestrian facilities, such as improving the design of intersections and roads that are identified as hotspots for accidents, installing larger signals for pedestrians and increasing the time given to pedestrians to cross the street at traffic lights.
To better serve seniors living in remote areas, the ministry said that it is designing a demand responsive transportation system, which would include taxis in the public transport system.
The ministry also said that the Ministry of Education has agreed to incorporate road safety education as part of the curriculum in elementary, junior-high and senior-high schools in a bid to lower the number of young people killed in traffic accidents.
The Control Yuan last year censured the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) for failing to properly regulate drivers aged 75 years or older.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said that the nation has about 320,000 senior drivers who are not obligated to renew their driver’s license, adding that the transport ministry is evaluating the necessity of doing so.
DGH Director-General Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯) said that the agency is formulating a new policy to manage senior drivers, based on a study by the Institute of Transportation, which is to be published in August.
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