Japan Uses Restaurant Discount To Tempt Elder Drivers To Give Up Their Licenses

A portion of ramen at a Japanese restaurant 8 photos
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Age is just a number, some say. Unfortunately, that does not apply to driving, but it is hard to make people grasp a consensus on the matter.
Japan has recorded a rise in accidents involving elderly drivers, and the police in the Aichi Prefecture has come up with a potential solution. In a bid to reduce the number of accidents caused by people that might not drive as well as they used to, the police offer a 15% discount on a ramen menu in the Sugakiya restaurant chain.

In other words, senior citizens in Japan that decide they have had enough driving can voluntarily surrender their licenses, and they get a special certificate in exchange for them. With the described document, the former drivers will have access to a special menu, which includes ramen, rice, and salad.

According to the BBC, this is the latest move in a nation-wide strategy that wants to convince senior citizens to stop driving. Other prefectures or cities in Japan offer savings on taxi fares, public baths, and other rebates.

The senior drivers of Tokyo get a “driving graduation certificate” in recognition of their years on the road. It is worth noting that over 17 million people in Japan aged over 65 have driving licenses, and about 270.000 voluntarily surrendered their licenses last year.

Just last week, a 97-year-old Buddhist priest named Taa Shinen wanted to set an example for his peers and voluntarily handed in his driving license. The high-ranking Buddhist priest stated that he fears that he might cause an accident even if he drove carefully. He also added that it is “stupid to try to maintain your licenses just out of pride.”

While we can understand the level of depression that captures a person’s soul when giving up the right to drive, the move makes more sense than a silly ambition to brag with the possession of a driving license.

The accidents caused by senior citizens in Japan came to public attention after an 87-year-old driver crashed his truck into a group of elementary school children, which took the life of a young boy and injured 11 people.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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