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Police revoke, suspend 1,892 driver's licenses over dementia risk

TOKYO -- Police revoked or suspended 1,892 driver's licenses for those aged 75-plus in the year ending in March after they failed dementia tests administered under the revised Road Traffic Act, the National Police Agency (NPA) announced on June 7.

The NPA said that 1,836 people had their licenses revoked, and 56 people had their licenses suspended, with the total reaching some three times that of 2016, before the revised law came into force in March 2017. Moreover, 1,515 people are in the process of having their licenses revoked or suspended.

Drivers aged 75 and over are required to have their cognitive function tested periodically, such as when they renew their licenses. Examinees are divided into three categories: risk of dementia, risk of reduced cognitive function, and no risk of reduced cognitive function. The revised law mandates strengthened dementia checks, and all examinees in the first category must be medically evaluated. Drivers subsequently diagnosed with dementia by a medical professional have their licenses revoked or suspended.

Of the 2,105,477 people aged 75-plus tested by the end of March this year, 57,099 drivers were found to fall in the first category. Among these, 16,115 people returned their licenses voluntarily before the medical check and 4,517 people did not renew their licenses. A total of 16,470 people went on to be medically examined.

(Japanese original by Toshiaki Uchihashi, City News Department)

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