There is a new road-safety strategy central Japan to encourage elderly drivers to stop driving. A company that operates 89 funeral homes is offering a 15 per cent discount funeral services to any driver over the age 75 who surrenders their driving licence. The discount also applies to family members those relinquishing their licence. The scheme has the full backing the local police force. Drivers must visit a police station to hand their licence. Police officers then provide a document, which the elderly person hands to the funeral home as proof that they are no longer allowed to drive. Similar schemes Japan have included cut-price taxi fares, discounts entry public baths and cheaper noodles.
The latest initiative is a further attempt to reduce the number traffic accidents involving seniors, which is becoming a serious problem Japan. There are almost 5 million licence holders Japan the age 75. This is double the number a decade ago. In that same period, there has been an increase the number fatal collisions involving elderly drivers. Drivers aged 75 or older accounted 13.2 per cent of fatal traffic accidents in central Japan's Aichi Prefecture last year. This is from 7.7 per cent in 2007. Aichi police say some those accidents involved seniors confusing the accelerator and brake pedals or mistakenly putting the vehicle reverse.