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日本人口老龄化 如何解决老年司机问题

How Japan is handling more ageing drivers
日本人口老龄化 如何解决老年司机问题

Japan is known for having one of the world’s most efficient and comprehensive public transport systems, but it’s also a nation of drivers and car-lovers, with nearly 80 million vehicles on the road. Now, as one of the planet’s most aged nations, with one in five citizens aged 70 or older, it is facing a sensitive problem: how do you keep traffic accidents down as people get older?

日本以拥有世界上最高效、最全面的公共交通系统而闻名,但它也是一个拥有近8000万辆汽车和汽车爱好者的国家。如今,作为世界上老龄化严重的国家之一,已有20%的国民年龄在70岁以上,正面临一个敏感的社会问题:如何在人们变老的同时降低交通事故的发生率?

It’s an important question: last year in Japan the proportion of fatal traffic accidents caused by drivers 75 or older rose to 14.8%, up from 8.7% in 2008. And although last year overall traffic deaths in Japan were the lowest since 1948, over-65s made up a record high of 56% of the total deaths that did occur.

这是一个很重要的问题:去年在日本,75岁以上司机造成的致命交通事故比例从2008年的8.7%上升至14.8%。尽管去年日本的总体交通死亡人数是1948年以来的最低水平,但65岁以上的人占总死亡人数的56%,创下历史新高。

According to a Japanese government report in June, drivers 75 or older caused more than double the number of fatal accidents in 2018 than younger drivers did. More specifically, the over-75s caused 8.2 fatal crashes per every 100,000 on the road, “about 2.4 times the number caused by those aged 74 or younger”.

根据日本政府6月份的一份报告,2018年,年龄在75岁及以上年龄的司机造成的致命事故数量是年轻司机的两倍多。更具体地说,75岁以上的司机每10万人次就造成8.2起致命车祸,“约为74岁及以下人的2.4倍”。

Deadly accidents involving older drivers continue to make national news. Right now in Japan, over-75s must take a cognitive test every three years before they can successfully get their licence renewed, and proposals over the summer aim to allow elders to only drive cars with advanced automatic braking systems.

涉及老年司机的致命事故不断成为全国新闻。目前在日本,超过75岁的老人必须每三年进行一次认知测试,合格才能获得驾照续期。今年夏天的一项提案,旨在允许老年人只驾驶装有先进自动刹车系统的汽车。

Yet despite unilateral safety efforts, the biggest issue remains that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to keeping elders driving safely. That’s because not every human at the same age or life stage is going to be the same. “You can’t say at X point in someone’s chronological age, they are likely to experience specific declines,” says Alana Officer, a disability and rehabilitation coordinator at the World Health Organization.

然而,尽管采取了单方面的安全措施,最大的问题仍然是没有一个万无一失的办法,来保证老年人的安全驾驶。因为不是每个人在相同的年龄或人生阶段都有同样的状态。世界卫生组织(WHO)残疾和康复协调员官员阿兰娜(Alana)说:“你不能说在某人实际年龄的某一点,他们会经历同样特定的衰退。”

Plus, some studies show that the youngest drivers are more dangerous than the eldest; that same Japanese government report from June found that drivers aged 16 to 19 were the most dangerous group, causing 11.1 fatal accidents per every 100,000 licenced drivers. What’s more, the higher risk of elders dying in a car crash could also be due to increased age-related susceptibility to medical complications.

此外,一些研究表明,最年轻的司机比最年长的司机更危险。日本政府6月发布的同一份报告还显示,年龄在16岁至19岁之间的驾车者是最危险的群体,每10万名持驾照的司机中就有11.1人发生致命事故。更重要的是,老年人死于车祸的高风险可能与老年人对医疗并发症的易感性增加有关。

Officer says that if you have policy that is strictly tied to age – perhaps revoking licences for all people over a certain age in the name of public safety – you run the risk of ageist laws that discriminate.

官员说,如果政策严格与年龄挂钩,比如以公共安全的名义吊销所有超过一定年龄人的驾照,那么就有可能触犯歧视老年人法律的风险。

So what can be done and what is Japan doing? The answers aren’t clear cut, but a mix of mindful policy and new technologies may indicate a path for the future.

那么,我们能做些什么?日本正在做些什么?答案并不明确,但谨慎的政策和新技术的结合可能为未来指明了道路。

A need for independence – and respect

需要独立和尊重


Discussions with older family members about giving up driving can be difficult for people in any country. “It’s important to take steps that support public safety, while treating older drivers with dignity,” says Toshiko Kaneda, senior research associate at Population Reference Bureau, a not-for-profit in Washington, DC that analyses population trends and statistics.

与年长的家庭成员讨论放弃驾驶的问题,对任何国家的人来说都是困难的。人口研究局(Population Reference Bureau)高级研究员金田俊彦(Toshiko Kaneda)说:“重要的是要采取措施支持公共安全,同时有尊严地对待年长的司机。”该机构是华盛顿特区一个非盈利性机构,负责分析人口趋势和统计数据。

In Shimizu, Shizuoka, in south-central Japan, Toyota quality advisor and car salesperson Tomomi Makino has seen the toll the lifestyle change takes on older drivers first-hand. She’s blogged about her experiences with older customers and says more are opting to give up their licences by choice. When this happens, the car dealer comes to their house to drive the car back to the dealership to be sold back.

在日本中南部的静冈县(Shizuoka)清水市(Shimizu),丰田汽车的质量顾问和销售人员牧野富美(Tomomi Makino)亲眼目睹了生活方式的改变给老年司机带来的失落。她在博客中讲述了自己与老年客户打交道的经历,并表示越来越多的人选择放弃自己的驾照。当这种情况发生时,汽车经销商会到他们家,把车开回经销商处进行销售。

Elderly residents get some government benefits – discounts on taxis and buses, for example – but saying goodbye to driving can be emotional. Makino recalls one customer who called because he was giving up his licence and needed her to take his car away. He told her on the phone: “I should stop before I hurt somebody”. When Makino showed up, she said the man broke down in tears.

老年居民可以享受一些政府福利,比如出租车或公交车的折扣。但告别驾驶可能会很伤感。牧野富美回忆说,有一位顾客打来电话,他要放弃驾照,需要去把他的车开走。他在电话里说:“我应该在伤害别人之前停下来。”当牧野富美出现时,那个男人哭了。

“Many people easily discuss that elderly drivers should return their driver’s licence – but we shouldn’t forget about those people’s feelings,” she says. Their car and driving have “become an essential part of their life”.

她说:“很多人轻易就会说,上了年纪的司机应该交回驾照,但我们不应该忽略这些人的感受。”他们的汽车和驾驶已经“成为他们生活中必不可少的一部分”。

In 2017, more than 400,000 elderly people in Japan gave up their licenses, the highest number since the programme was introduced in 1998, according to an analysis of National Police Agency statistics. But Hidenori Arai, president of Japan’s National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, doesn’t think the uptick in licence-surrendering is a “good trend”. In a country where the number of people living with dementia is estimated to be five million, he favours periodic cognitive tests for older drivers, as well as re-training driving skills “to extend their driving years”.

根据日本警察厅(National Police Agency)的数据分析,2017年,日本有40多万老年人放弃了他们的驾照,这是自1998年实施该计划以来的最高数字。但是日本老年医学会和老年医学中心主任新井秀德(Hidenori Arai)并不认为放弃驾照是一个“好的趋势”。在一个估计有500万老年痴呆症患者的国家,他赞成定期对老年司机进行认知测试,以及重新培训驾驶技能,“以延长他们的驾驶年限”。

Losing licences can hit elderly people in rural areas – where older populations are biggest and public transport can be limited – especially hard. “Without a car, they cannot survive,” says Arai. “They cannot go shopping or see their friends and so on. To enjoy life, a car is necessary. Even [though] some older people are aware of their impaired driving skills, they need to keep driving a car for their daily life.”

在农村地区,老年人数量最多,公共交通也很有限,失去驾照对老年人的打击尤其严重。新井秀德说:“没有汽车,他们无法生存。他们不能去购物或见朋友等等。要享受生活,有车是必须的。即使一些老年人意识到他们的驾驶技能有所下降,但他们仍然需要在日常生活中继续开车。”
 

随着老年司机在日本的道路上造成越来越多的事故,针对老年人的驾驶学校已经兴起,为老年司机提供再培训

Compromise through innovation

通过创新而解决


So what’s being planned to curb the number of accidents, but also keep seniors active? Taxis that could drive themselves, for one.

那么,有什么办法既能减少事故,又能让老年人保持活力呢?比如可以自动驾驶的出租车。

In recent years, Japanese car and tech companies have ramped up research in this arena, focusing specifically on helping seniors. (They also want to have some of these robot taxis ready to shuttle foreign visitors between Tokyo sport venues in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics.) Road tests for self-driving vehicles started in 2016, when human-free Priuses wound their way around roads in tiny seaside towns and other rural areas.

近年来,日本汽车和科技公司在这一领域加大了研究力度,专门致力于帮助老年人。(他们还希望这些机器人出租车能在2020年夏季奥运会时,在东京的体育场馆之间运送外国游客。)无人驾驶汽车的道路测试始于2016年,当时无人驾驶的普锐斯(Prius)在海边小镇和其他农村地区的道路上蜿蜒行驶。

Elders have long been one of the primary audiences for driverless cars. Elsewhere in the world, a start-up called Voyage has raised tens of millions of dollars to test fleets in retirement communities, like a 40-square-mile community of 125,000 in Florida.

长期以来,老年人一直是无人驾驶汽车的主要受众之一。在其他地方,一家名为旅程(Voyage)的初创公司已经筹集了数千万美元,用于在退休人员社区测试的车队,比如在佛罗里达州一个占地40平方英里、拥有12.5万人口的社区。

But we’re still years away from self-driving cars becoming a realistic and readily available solution. In the shorter term, besides those periodic cognitive tests, police departments are trying to roll out a ‘limited driver’s licence’ for those who do have impaired cognitive functions or driving skills. They can drive, but only certain types of cars with special, built-in safety supports: an automatic braking system, for instance. (A common cause of fatal accidents among older drivers is mixing up the brake pedal with the accelerator.)

但是,自动驾驶汽车要成为可行的解决方案,我们还有很长的路要走。从短期来看,除了定期进行认知测试外,警方还将为那些认知功能或驾驶技能减退的人发放“有限驾照”。他们可以驾驶,但只能驾驶特定类型的具有特殊的、内置安全支持的汽车。例如,自动刹车系统。(造成老年司机发生致命事故的一个常见原因是刹车踏板和油门踏板混淆。)

In the shorter term, companies are working on tailoring new cars to fit the needs of the elderly. This month, Toyota debuted a tiny two-seater electric car designed for short drives that tops out at 60kph, specifically targeting older motorists who want to remain active.

从短期来看,汽车公司正致力于改装新车,以满足老年人的需求。本月,丰田汽车推出了一款小型双座电动车,专为短途驾驶设计,最高时速可达60公里,专门针对那些想要保持活力的老年驾驶者。

A solution for all

所有问题的解决方案


For years, Japan has required particular bumper stickers to be placed on the cars of both beginner and elderly drivers to identify them to fellow motorists. These stickers essentially function as a heads-up to others on the road.

多年来,日本一直要求新手和老年司机在汽车保险杠上贴上特殊的标签,以识别他们。这些贴纸的主要功能是提醒路上的其他人。

Although these can be helpful signals in some situations, WHO’s Alana Officer says that governments have to be careful labelling either side of the age spectrum as traffic scourges without offering any solutions. Otherwise, she says, it’s a slippery slope to discriminatory laws.

尽管这些信号在某些情况下可能是有用的,世卫组织的阿兰娜说,各国政府必须谨慎地将年龄一项标记为交通危害,而不提供任何解决方案。否则,这有滑向歧视性法律危险。

For effective change, Officer echoes Arai’s call for a more comprehensive plan that enables older drivers to adapt to their new life stage and keep them driving longer. She points to continued driving education, as well as occupational therapy to help drivers with restricted head movements caused by conditions like osteoarthritis better check left and right, plus assistive technologies or car modifications.

为了做出有效的改变,官员回应了新井秀德的呼吁,提出制定一个更全面的计划,让老年司机适应新生活阶段,延长他们的驾驶时间。她指出,继续进行驾驶教育,以及职业治疗,以帮助患有骨关节炎等疾病而导致头部活动受限的司机更好地检查左右,此外还包括辅助技术或汽车改装。

“If you build people’s cognitive capacity, it has great promise to extend to safe driving,” she says, like safeguarding one’s ability to multitask, the key skill used in driving. “I think a lot of what we need to do is not classify older people within those categories, but [rather, look at] what is it about the ageing process that requires specific policies that enable people to continue to make choices to drive safely?”

她说:“如果能提高人们的认知能力,那么安全驾驶就大有希望。”比如保护一个人的多任务能力,这是驾驶中使用的关键技能。“我认为我们需要做很多事情并不是把老年人归为一类,而是,更确切地说,看看老龄化过程中需要什么样的具体政策,才能让人们继续安全驾驶?”

No matter where you are in the world, coming to terms with possibly ending your driving career can be a hard pill to swallow. It’s a difficult adjustment to make, especially if there’s not sufficient policy in place to help you make it. Yet in Japan, it’s one that a growing proportion of the population will be facing.

无论身处世界何处,结束驾驶生涯都是一件难以接受的事情。这是一个艰难的调整,尤其是在没有足够的政策帮助调整的情况下。然而,在日本,越来越多的人将面临这个问题。

“For some, it could be nostalgia. Today’s older adults witnessed the rise of the auto industry and may have been part of the early wave of people getting driver’s licences in the 1960s and ‘70s,” says the Population Reference Bureau’s Kaneda. “It’s the end of an era, in some ways.”

人口研究局的金田俊彦说:“对一些人来说,这可能是一种怀旧。今天的老年人见证了汽车工业的崛起,他们可能是上世纪六、七十年代早期获得驾驶执照潮流中的一部分人。”“从某种意义上说,这是一个时代的终结。”
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