A new road-safety strategy in Japan is encouraging elderly drivers to stop driving. A funeral home company is offering a 15 per cent discount on its services to drivers over the age of 75 who surrender their driving licence. The discount also applies to their family members. The scheme is backed by the local police. Drivers must hand in their licence to the police, who then provide a document as proof that the senior is no longer allowed to drive. Similar schemes in Japan have included cut-price taxi fares, discounts on entry to public baths and cheaper noodles.
The latest strategy is a further attempt to cut the large number of traffic accidents involving seniors. Almost five million people over the age of 75 drive in Japan. This is double the number from 10 years ago. There has been an increase in the number of fatal accidents involving elderly drivers. They accounted for 13.2 per cent of fatal traffic accidents in a central Japan district last year. This is up from 7.7 per cent in 2007. Some of those accidents were because seniors confused the accelerator and brake pedals or mistakenly put their car into reverse.