Elderly drivers in Japan offered noodles discount to stop driving

Nearly 13 per cent of all traffic accidents in Japan involve people aged 75 or older

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The Independent Online

Elderly residents in Japan are being offered a discount deal on noodle soup if they agree to give up their driving licenses, following a rise in road traffic accidents.

Police in Aichi Prefecture, south of Tokyo, have agreed a programme of discounts with the Sugakiya restaurant chain, known for its famous ramen soup.

A 15% discount on the dish will now be offered to elderly drivers who agree to relinquish their licences, with the offer honoured at all 176 of the franchise's restaurants across the region.

This is the latest experimental initiative being tried out by Aichi police as part of a campaign to dissuade pensioners from getting behind the wheel, including discounts on local taxis and offers at public baths.

The discount will operate from November 25 onwards, with police hopeful the programme will go some way towards stemming the rise in road accidents involving elderly people. 

In late October, an 87-year-old man was arrested after he drove into a line of children on their way to school, killing a six-year-old boy. The man said he “didn’t remember where he’d been”, according to Asahi News.

In November, an 83-year-old woman reportedly rammed a toll gate with her car, striking and killing two pedestrians on a sidewalk.

Nearly 13 per cent of all accidents now involve people aged 75 or older, according to Japan’s National Police Agency, a rapid increase in a few years. 

Under the Japanese government’s revised Road Traffic Law, due to take effect in March 2017, people aged 75 or older will have to be referred to a medical doctor for diagnosis if their memories and judgement are found to be impaired.

According to the authorities in Aichi, 12,000 elderly residents had agreed to hand in their licences by the end of October.