Older drivers offered cheaper meals in licence exchange

A rise in car accidents has prompted an interesting offer by Japanese police.

ramen noodles being offered to older drivers

A worrying rise in car accidents has prompted Japanese police to offer older drivers cheaper meals if they hand in their licence.

Launched last week in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan, the scheme offers drivers aged over 75 discounts on ramen noodles, but only if they give up their driver’s licence.

The plan comes after a significant rise in traffic accidents caused by over-75s. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has called for action to address the increase in accidents, many of which were fatal.

The overall number of accidents in Japan has declined over the past few years, but the number involving over 75s has increased from 7.4 per cent to 12.8 per cent.

With Japan’s population rapidly ageing, that number is not to be scoffed at. An estimated 17 million Japanese aged 65 or over drive a car, 4.8 million of whom are over 75 – compared with 2.4 million just a decade ago.

Older drivers in Aichi will now get a 15 per cent discounts on ramen once they surrender their licence. Other areas in the same prefecture are offering discounts at public baths, barbers and chemists, as well as lower taxi fares.

So far this year, 12,000 drivers in the prefecture have taken advantage of such schemes. Nationwide, more than 270,000 have surrendered their licence and are now eligible for discounted public transport and taxi fees.

From next March, drivers older than 74 who are pulled over by police and show signs of cognitive impairment or memory loss, will be referred to a doctor or have their licence suspended or revoked.

Read more at The Guardian

What do you think of this scheme? Would you swap your licence for a cheap bowl of noodles, an inexpensive haircut or discounted public transport?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    The pom
    30th Nov 2016
    As an 83 yo who drives most days I monitor my driving full time. Is my speed correct for the traffic and road, what are other drivers doing around me. I do this in a way that makes sure I am not a problem for other users, and by this I mean I do not drive slowly, but at a speed consistent with the road and traffic. As a left foot braker I am ready when in traffic to brake when needed and am able to avoid many problems caused by right foot braking, such as losing control while parking and cleaning up some poor devil. I will continue to monitor my driving but feel that at the moment I can safely keep up with traffic flows without causing problems to others and am sufficiently fit and alert to drive
    30th Nov 2016
    As an 88 yo and mentally and physically healthy, I am more concerned about the "P" drivers who drive as maniacs changing lanes constantly in an aggressive manner and unfortunately because of that kind of driving be responsible for an accident. On the open road I drive as the circomstances allow and when possible sit right on the speed limit. I have no problems being checked healthwise every 2 years and being tested that I am capable to drive. If either declare I am not fit I will hand in my licence but this I should also know for myself.

    30th Nov 2016
    I fail to understand why there has been an increase in accidents involving the over-75's in Japan in the past few years.
    This indicates an underlying problem associated with other factors - not an age problem.
    The Japanese speak of cognitive impairment and memory loss - which are nearly always associated with advancing age - but which can also be brought about by stress, lack of sleep, financial worries, and poor diet.
    It's well known that the Japanese work like trojans and will kill themselves with overwork and dedication to a company.
    The Japanese actually introduced a work law around 15 yrs ago, forbidding work shifts longer than 12 hrs.
    This was because there were many Japanese employees in crucial positions, such as company engineers, who were being pressured to work excessively long hours.
    These people were surviving on as little as 4 hrs sleep a night, and sizeable numbers actually died prematurely from work stress - thus alarming and making the Japanese Govt bring in the work shift length limit.
    There has been a trend in corporate Japan in recent years to promptly discard older workers - something that was previously unthinkable. This has led to severe stress amongst older Japanese.

    Here in W.A., the State Govt has eliminated the 85+ yr old practical driving test - unless it has been recommended by a health professional who is concerned about the persons driving ability.
    Drivers over 80 in W.A. do have to present a medical assessment, before driving licence renewal.
    The W.A. Govt has placed the onus on health professionals to pick up early-onset dementia, poor eyesight, or other health disabilities that could mean the person is a risk on the road.

    The bottom line is W.A. has relaxed the previously fixed-age driving assessment laws, to one based on identifying those at risk - as it has been proven in W.A. that advanced age of a driver, is not a significant factor in crashes.

    In the past week, I have had one P-plater crash straight into the side of me whilst travelling the same direction - claiming she "felt sick and shouldn't have been driving".

    I personally think she was texting, but as I was actually slightly in front of her, I didn't actually see her using her phone.
    She did have the phone laying right next to her left thigh when she stopped, though!

    In two other incidents, one other girlie P-plater cut me off in my truck when she pulled left, across in front of me, just missing me by less than half a metre!
    The second one, was a P-plater who turned across my path as he made a right turn right in front of me, as we both drove off from stops signs opposite each other at an intersection!

    Too many younger drivers don't even understand some pretty basic road rules! - and as driving skills quite often decay as you age - I'd expect these people are the real threat on our roads!

    The important thing is to not let your driving skills decay as you age - and to watch for bad habits creeping in!
    How many of you fail to stop completely at stop signs, because you're getting lazy!

    I'd be a millionaire by now, if I could gather up the $150 fines for not stopping at stop signs, that I see happening every day!

    30th Nov 2016
    Yes Aaron, I see this happening all the time here in Deception Bay in Qld. They don't stop because they are lazy, they stop because they don't give a rats arse about stopping or obeying any road sign. I have been to our local police station about this and told them where they should be keeping an eye out and which junctions for these drivers ,in unmarked cars. They would make a mint every day.
    It really annoys me.
    30th Nov 2016
    I'm in my mid-seventies, I have never caused an accident, I have always enjoyed driving and drive all over the city and much of my state . I've been involved in two accidents in 10 years, not of my making, but because of the inattention of the young driver, the last one was on her mobile. The police looked at me and said, another zombie on their mobile, that's all we seem to get these days. Both times, they were not insured.
    30th Nov 2016
    No way Jose!!

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles
    you might also be interested in...

    Retirement Planning

    When retirement planning becomes life planning it is a challenging, fun and fulfilling task.

    Age pension explained

    Anne explains whether you will qualify for an Age Pension and simplifies some of the more complex scenarios you may encounter dealing with Centrelink.


    Got the travel bug or need a break? Take a look at our latest Seniors travel discounts and deals.

    Meal Ideas

    Be inspired by our easy meal ideas. Search through hundreds of recipes to find the perfect one for any occasion.


    Have some fun and keep your mind active with our Daily Crossword, Trivia, Word Search and Sudoku Games.