Driver’s License for Ramen?

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By: Brian T

Police in Central Japan are offering elderly people a variety of discounts for turning in their driver’s licenses. Starting on November 25, all elderly people who turn in their driver’s license will receive discounts from drugstores, taxi fares, bus fares, public baths, but the largest discount that seals the deal for most people would be the 15% discount on ramen. These discounts are made in an effort to make the streets safer for everyone, as the elderly in Japan make up a relatively large amount of traffic accidents. Whether the elderly will take up this offer or not we will have to wait and see.

The police in the Aichi prefecture are giving elders discounts on many things if they turn in their driver’s license to them. After turning in their license, they will receive a “Driving Graduation Certificate”. This program hopes to honor drivers for their years of driving while encouraging them to use other forms of transportation as the get older. The certificate gives people a 50 percent discount of bus and rail transport as well as a 10 percent discount on taxis. For turning in your driver’s license in the Aichi Prefecture, you will get discounts from all restaurants in the Sugakiya restaurant chain. The discount only applies to certain foods such as ramen and rice. Since four years ago, the Aichi police have been working with local companies and business to expand preferential services for elderly people who surrender their driver’s license. The benefits now go from discounts from drugstores to discounts at barbershops, and many other businesses are still joining.

By enticing the elders to turn in their driver’s licenses the Aichi police aim to bring down the amount of traffic accidents caused by such people. In Japan, the elderly make up 10 percent of all the collisions, and the Aichi police are trying to lessen that number. In just this year alone, this project has been very successful, and just this year so far, over 12,000 people have already turned in their licenses. Only time will tell if this program will lessen the number of traffic accidents.

Traffic accidents are very common in North America as well, and if we were to pair turning in your driver’s license with special benefits, we could possibly lower the rate of traffic accidents as well. As always, Japan is years ahead of us in terms of innovation and city development, but if we were to implement a similar system in our society, it could potentially save a lot of lives. Overall the Japanese’s plan of trading in your driver’s license for other benefits is a very excellent idea and is one we should follow suit with.

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