The number of car accidents caused by elderly drivers more than quadrupled over the past 10 years, causing damage worth KRW304.8 billion (US$277.2 million), insurance data show.
The accident tally for private drivers from the Korea Insurance Development Institute showed there were some 29,000 accidents caused by drivers aged 70 or over, up from 7,000 in 2006. These senior drivers last year accounted for 3.8% of all car accidents, up from 1.3% in 2006, reported Yonhap News Agency.
The amount of damage caused by elderly drivers consequently increased, from KRW53.8 billion in 2006 to KRW304.8 billion last year. In proportion, last year's sum came to 4.2% of the total, up from 1.3% 10 years ago. The average damage caused by senior drivers was higher than for all age groups, amounting to KRW1.88 million per case compared with the overall average of KRW1.62 million.
The fatality rate was also the highest for elderly people who take the wheel, standing at 0.32%, while the average for all age groups was 0.23%.
By comparison, car accidents by drivers under 20 and in their 30s both fell in numbers. For people in their 40s, the number of accidents increased, but their proportion to the total fell.
Experts say the data reflect the country's aging society. The number of those aged 70 or older jumped from 2.68 million in 2005 to 4.03 million last year, an increase of 50.3%.