Police tests of over 1.72 million drivers aged 75 and up showed that 46,911 of them could have dementia, the National Police Agency (NPA) announced on Feb. 26.
The figures cover testing conducted from March 2017 -- when Road Traffic Act revisions mandating strengthened dementia checks for drivers went into effect -- to the end of that year.
Drivers aged 75 and over are required to be tested periodically for their cognitive function, such as when they renew their licenses every three years. Examinees are divided into three categories: risk of dementia, risk of reduced cognitive function, and no risk of reduced cognitive function. Previously, those in the first category only had to consult a doctor for a formal diagnosis if they committed certain traffic violations. Under the revised law, however, everyone in the first category must be medically evaluated.
The NPA has so far examined the state of 24,816 people out of the 46,911 found to be in the first category in the testing, and found 9,841 have been permitted to keep their driver's licenses after a medical evaluation. However, 1,351 people had their licenses revoked, and 2,571 people did not renew their licenses. Meanwhile, 11,053 people returned their licenses voluntarily.