Elderly drivers not more prone to sudden acceleration incidents, study reveals

By Park Sae-jin Posted : July 11, 2024, 11:27 Updated : July 11, 2024, 15:03
Getty Images Bank
[Getty Images Bank]
SEOUL, July 10 (AJU PRESS) - Contrary to common belief, aged drivers are not more prone to unintended acceleration, also known as sudden unexpected acceleration (SUA), according to a new report.

The report, submitted Wednesday by the main opposition Democratic Party’s lawmaker Ahn Tae-joon, analyzed car accidents between 2014 and June this year based on data from the Korea Transport Safety. It revealed there were 456 accidents suspected to involve SUA, and among them, drivers' ages were available for 396 cases.

Those in their 60s accounted for the largest portion of these accidents, with 122 cases (30.8 percent), followed by those in their 50s with 108 cases (27.8 percent) and those in their 40s with 80 cases (20.2 percent).

There were 46 cases involving drivers in their 70s (11.6 percent), 30 cases for those in their 30s (7.6 percent), and seven cases for those in their 20s (1.8 percent). Overall, 43.2 percent of the accidents involved drivers aged 60 and older, while younger drivers were involved in 56.8 percent.

The finding topples the received wisdom that SUA cases are typically caused by older drivers mistaking the accelerator for the brake pedal due to cognitive decline.

SUA is a rare phenomenon involving the uncontrolled acceleration of a vehicle, primarily caused by electrical or mechanical malfunctions.

A recent deadly car crash in central Seoul, resulting in nine deaths and seven injuries, sparked controversy early this month as the driver claimed his car malfunctioned, but police evidence suggests otherwise.

Over the last decade, there have been fierce debates in Korea about SUA, with some blaming carmakers for producing faulty vehicles and others attributing it to momentary driver errors. According to data from the National Assembly, 766 car accidents suspected of SUA were reported between 2010 and 2022, but none were ruled by courts as SUA-related.
기사 이미지 확대 보기