Japan urges older motorists to swap driving licence for noodle discount


Japanese police officials are trying to persuade elderly car drivers to give up their driving licence for discounts on ramen, to tackle the growing number of accidents in the country involving older motorists.

The scheme was launched last week at Aichi prefecture in central Japan. As per the scheme, elderly drivers will be given a 15% discount on ramen noodles across 176 outlets of the Sugakiya restaurant chain, provided they give up their driver’s licence.

The move came after the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, insisted on addressing the sharp rise in road accidents caused by drivers who are approximately 74 or above in age, according to The Guardian.

According to the data published by the national police agency, there has been decline in the overall number of traffic accidents, but the number has gone up from 7.4% to 12.8% involving drivers aged 75 and over.

A similar campaign was carried out in Tokyo, where ‘graduation’ certificates were awarded to the retiring drivers, according to Rocket News 24.

"There has been decline in the overall number of traffic accidents, but the number has gone up from 7.4% to 12.8% involving drivers aged 75 and over."

The certificate holders are reportedly entitled for concessions on bus and taxi fares.

Since last year, approximately 270,000 people have surrendered their licences, which is still a very small number in proportion of the total number of older motorists.

From March next year, the government plans to refer drivers to a doctor, if they are above 74 years of age and if they are stopped for traffic violations or show signs of memory loss or impaired judgment during regular cognitive ability tests.