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Monday, 12 December 2016 00:00

Elderly drivers in Japan swap licenses for discounts

Police in Japan have thought of a novel way to get elderly motorists off the roads as they are confronted with a rise in accidents caused by elderly motorists. 

In exchange for giving up their driver’s licences, the Sugakiya restaurant chain is offering elderly residents in Japan a bowl of noodles at discounted prices. 

The concept was introduced after Prime Minister Sinzo Abe called for action to curb the steep rise in often fatal accidents caused by drivers over the age of 75. The percentage of accidents has almost doubled in a decade, rising from 7.4% to 12.8%. Many of the accidents are caused by drivers muddling up the accelerator and the brake pedals. 

Your licence for your noodles

Driving record certificates are handed out by police when a driver surrenders their licence. This certificate entitles the bearer to discounted ramen noodles. 

Other businesses are now catching on to the idea and seniors with the certificate are getting discounts at the barber, chemists, public bathhouses and even on taxi rides. 

In Japan, from March 2017, any driver over the age of 74 stopped by police for road safety transgressions will be sent to a doctor for a driving check-up. If they are found to have cognitive decline or dementia, their licenses will be revoked. 

According to the Jiji news website, a 97-year-old Buddhist priest named Taa Shinen, publicly handed in his driver’s licence to police as an example to fellow senior drivers. 

“I hope you will surrender your driver’s licence and live to the end of your natural lives,” he said “Even if I’m careful about driving safely, there’s a chance I could cause an accident. It’s stupid to try to maintain your licences just out of pride.”

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