South Korea Singles Out Elderly Drives With ‘Silver Mark’

Image of Senior Bus Driver, South Korea

Image by Flickr user Young Sok Yun (CC BY NC ND 2.0)

Police in South Korea proposed a new regulation that forces elderly drivers to place a sticker on the rear of their car to signify that they are seniors. 

South Korea is rapidly aging society [ko]. Official data projects that by the year 2017, people over the age of 65 will make up over 17 percent of the entire population. Police data tells a similar story [ko]: not only do elderly drivers currently comprise 10 percent of the total driving population, but fatal crash rates involving senior citizens are sharply rising, unlike the general vehicle fatality rate, which is on the decline.

This has led the government to act. Police have introduced a rule that requires elderly drivers to attach the so-called “silver mark” [ko] – a noticeable sticker on the back of the vehicle that says it is driven by an elderly driver (a sample mark done by one local district looks like this). They have also vowed that traffic police will no longer pardon seniors just because of their age. Below a news article [ko] on the topic, one of the most upvoted comments read:

일이삼사: 실버마크, 아줌마마크, 음주 전과자마크, 1년미만 초보마크, 정신병 이력자마크 등등등 다 의무화 해라. 이게 지금 대책이라고 내 놓은거냐??

Net user ID 1234: Beside the silver mark, why don't you also make a Ajumma mark [Korean for a married old women], DUI mark, new driver mark for those whose driving experience is less than a year, psycho mark, and make all these obligatory? Is this really the measure you came up with?

Some Twitter users worry that this is another form of social discrimination based on age and point out the sticker might make the elderly more vulnerable to criminals looking for easy targets.

News has come out about new rules that require elderly drivers to attach the so-called ‘silver mark’. But will this be another form of discrimination? What they should have done is create a more thorough filtering process when issuing driving licenses. Are they unaware of the fact that this can be abused by criminals looking for a victim?

What the hell is this??? This could lead to possible human rights violations. They should have at least made this recommendation, rather than obligatory. And it's not like the mark will make other drivers act gently toward those elderly drivers.

(fake) Official tweet: In line with the government’s silver mark for elderly drivers, dear fellow Twitter users, please display a silver mark if you are elderly.

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