Japan has thought up a new tactic for keeping unsafe drivers off the road. The idea is to sway drivers 75 and older to give up driving in exchange for cheap ramen. Points for creativity!
According to The Guardian, the new idea is in response to a rise in accidents involving older drivers in the country. How cheap are the noodles? About 15% off the normal cost, at 500 yen. The question is, will drivers feel that it's worth it?
Traffic accidents among the elderly have risen from 7.4% to 12.8% over recent years, even though accidents in general have been on a steady decline. What's worse, about 17 million of people ages 65 and over have driver's licenses, so it's probably safe to assume that most of them are on the roads. Accidents seem to be consistent with age-related problems, since many of them are a result of the driver mixing up which pedal is gas and which is the brake, and/or driving on the wrong side of the road.
The way the deal works is that these drivers can hand over their driver's licenses to police and get a driver's record certificate in exchange. Other perks include discounts at public baths, barbers and chemists and for taxi rides. Sounds like a pretty decent deal, especially if you know you aren't seeing or remembering as well as you're used to. According to Rocket News 24, the record exchange is what's considered a "Driving Graduation Certificate."
I hope they don't think they're fooling the elderly by calling it this. They probably know better. But, as long as the perks are worth it they probably don't mind, either. Discounts on buses and monorail stations can be up to 50%, after all. Talk about convenience.
Then again, it's tough to give up your car. Driving brings you a certain amount of independence, and you might have a hard time giving that up over a bowl of noodles, even if they are tasty. They were never really expensive to begin with. I guess we'll see how this plays out as the plan develops further.