97-year-old Hong Kong woman drives into Maserati and hotel wall

97-year-old Hong Kong woman drives into Maserati and hotel wall
Frances Joan Leong (right) was uninjured despite crashing her car into another car and a wall.

A 97-year-old woman in Hong Kong had a narrow escape when the car she was driving collided with a Maserati, before it crashed into the wall of a Marriott Hotel on Thursday evening (Oct 4).

The South China Morning Post reported that the woman, Frances Joan Leong, had been trying to park her Honda outside the hotel when she drove into the Maserati.

Thankfully, no one was inside the HK$1.78 million (S$314,125) Maserati, which was parked outside the hotel's main entrance.

Leong then drove into the wall of the hotel and became trapped inside her vehicle. Emergency personnel later helped her out of her car.

The front and body of the Honda suffered damage, while the rear of the Maserati, which had been purchased just two years ago, was dented.

Leong passed a breathalyser test and no one was arrested.

A police spokesman said: "No obvious injuries were found on the woman and she did not require hospital treatment."

SCMP did not say whether Leong was made to pay for any of the damage.

Drivers in Hong Kong aged 70 or above are required to submit a medical examination report from a doctor for their first renewal of a driving licence. Their licences will then be valid for either one year, or three years.

Over in Japan, there has been a rising problem with elderly drivers on its roads.

In May this year, a woman was killed and three other people injured when a car driven by a 90-year-old woman mounted the kerb near a busy crossroads, in Chigasaki city near Tokyo.

According to data from its National Police Agency, drivers aged 75 and over were connected to 459 fatal accidents in 2016, 13 per cent of Japan's total, up from 7.4 per cent a decade earlier.

In order to tackle this problem, various companies in Japan have offered seniors incentives to give up their driving licences.

These include deals for cheaper funerals and discounts on ramen noodles, as well as cheap or free taxi and bus fares.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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