September 18 2013

JAMA Launches Its 2013 Autumn Road Safety Campaign

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) will be conducting its annual autumn road safety campaign from September 21 through December 31 this year.  The campaign’s launch date coincides with that of the Japanese government’s Autumn Traffic Safety Campaign (September 21-30) conducted by the National Police Agency.

In 2012 there were 4,411 road fatalities in Japan, marking the twelfth consecutive annual decline in such deaths and the fourth straight year for which this toll has remained under 5,000.  Road accidents and injuries, which peaked in 2004, fell for the eighth successive year, to 665,138 and 825,396, respectively.  Despite these declines, road fatalities, accidents and injuries clearly remain excessively high.  In response, the government aims to reduce total annual road fatalities to fewer than 3,000 by 2015, as part of the drive to meet its ultimate goal of making Japan’s roads the safest in the world.

Increased road safety is a matter of the most urgent concern for JAMA.  Its own initiatives in support of the government’s goals comprise the promotion of vehicle-based advanced safety measures and the implementation of road user-directed measures, including the conduct of its annual spring and autumn road safety campaigns.

A particular source of concern is the rising number of road fatalities among the elderly, a demographic segment that accounted for a record high of 51.3% of Japan’s total road fatalities in 2012.  This underscores the continued critical need for road safety measures targeting senior citizens.

For JAMA, last year also marked the start of a program of partnering with regional road traffic authorities in carrying out road safety information campaigns.  This initiative, launched together with Ibaraki Prefecture in 2012, will be expanded to Gifu Prefecture in this year’s campaign.

Priority Issues to Be Addressed in JAMA’s 2013 Autumn Road Safety Campaign

  • Driver Attention to Elderly Pedestrians
    As a result of Japan’s rapidly graying population, “seniors” now account for more than half of all road fatalities.  Half of those deaths, moreover, are elderly pedestrians.  The number of elderly pedestrian fatalities occurring after dark is close to twice the number occurring during the daytime, and from autumn to year’s end there is a marked rise in these fatalities in twilight hours.  Accordingly, the campaign will urge drivers always to turn on their headlights at twilight.
  • Reflective Materials for Elderly Pedestrians’ Self-Protection
    In view of the aforementioned pedestrian fatality statistics for elderly citizens, the campaign not only will urge drivers to turn on their headlights earlier at dusk, but also will encourage elderly pedestrians to wear reflective materials after daylight hours for greater visibility.
  • Proper Wearing of Motorcycle Helmets
    There were 788 motorcycle fatalities in Japan in 2012, of which 41.2% suffered head injuries even though 96.5% were wearing their helmets at the time of the accidents.  Of the victims who were wearing their helmets, 32.6% suddenly lost their helmets on collision impact.  The campaign will therefore urge motorcycle and moped riders to always fasten chinstraps securely before starting off.