Elderly Drivers In Japan


Japanese authorities are concerned about ever-growing numbers of traffic accidents involving elderly drivers, which has led the Tokyo government to start a new campaign aimed at reducing the number of old people driving cars. Here’s a TBS news report about it:

he report starts by introducing Tokyo’s oldest driver’s license holder, Seichi Koyama. The 102-year-old is confident of his driving ability. However, several recent fatal traffic accidents that made the news were caused by elderly drivers and there were about 7,000 accidents involving drivers over the age of 65 in 2007 (2.6 times greater than 10 years ago).

The Tokyo government has enlisted the help of local businesses to provide discounts to elderly people who have turned in their driver’s licenses. Examples shown in the video include free shipping of goods purchased at department stores, a 10% discount on Domino’s Pizza deliveries, and a 10% discount at expensive hotel restaurants. It is unclear how many of Tokyo’s 760,000 elderly drivers will accept the offer.

More details can be found in an Asahi Shinbun report:

Senior citizens who surrender their driver’s licenses will be eligible for discounts at 37 businesses in Tokyo, an incentive police hope will reduce fatal traffic accidents involving elderly motorists.

Hotels, restaurants and amusement parks are on board for the system starting April 1, Metropolitan Police Department officials said.

Police officials said it is likely the first time that various businesses have joined hands for such an endeavor.

The MPD has been campaigning to retrieve driver’s licenses from elderly drivers following revisions to the Road Traffic Law in 1998, but to little avail.

This time, police hope a financial incentive will do the trick.

For example, those who give up their licenses and receive identification certificates will be eligible for 10 percent off the bill when they dine at restaurants run by the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.

Or, they will be able to purchase a book of 10 ride tickets at the Asakusa Hanayashiki amusement park in Taito Ward, for 700 yen, 300 yen cheaper than the normal rate of 1,000 yen.

Many elderly citizens are concerned that if they surrender their licenses, they would lose one of their most recognized forms of identification.


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March 2008
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