IN a bid to try and make the roads safer, police in Japan are offering cheap meals to elderly motorists in exchange for their driving licences.
Whilst the number of traffic accidents has declined in recent years in Japan overall, figures show that those involving the over 75’s has risen from 7.4 per cent to 12.8 per cent in the last 10 years. This has promoted the country’s Prime Minister to take action and address the increase in accidents involving and caused by elderly drivers. In exchange for surrendering their licences, drivers in Aichi will receive discount on noodles at 176 restaurants. Other incentives include discounts at public baths, barbers and pharmacies as well as lower taxi fares. It is reported that a similar campaign in Tokyo awards retiring drivers with certificates in recognition of their years spent behind the wheel.
More forceful measures will also be introduced next year when drivers aged over 74 who are stopped by police for traffic violations or have poor judgement during standard cognitive tests, will be referred to their doctor.
Whilst some have welcomed the move and many have handed over their licences, it has caused concern for some in rural areas who say they would become isolated if they could no longer drive.