Masahito Fushimi, M. D., Ph. D.
Cell phone usage while driving is prohibited in Japan as well; however, hands free devices are allowed. Car accidents caused by cell phone usage are sometimes reported on the news, and although these do not particularly seem to account for a large percentage of accident reports, these accidents could become serious when they do occur.
In Japan, the number of suicide victims and fatal traffic accident victims are often compared. There were 31,690 suicides and 4,863 automobile fatalities last year, so the number of suicide victims was approximately 6.5 times higher than fatal traffic accident victims.
As the population in Japan is aging rapidly, car accidents caused by elderly drivers are considered a larger issue than accidents caused by cell phone use. In an effort to address issues related to dementia, older drivers are now required to take a cognitive function test.
This is a commentary on the article, “Cell phones and driving” by Leo Sher, M.D. published on our website, www.internetandpsychiatry.com