Funeral discount offered to elderly people who return driver licenses

NAGOYA —

With traffic accidents involving elderly drivers becoming a serious problem in Japan, initiatives are spreading to encourage seniors to voluntarily give up their licenses if they feel their driving is becoming erratic.

Heiankaku Co, a ceremony service company in Aichi Prefecture, started a 15% discount from March 1 at its 89 funeral homes within the central Japanese prefecture for people who hold proof, issued by police, that they have returned their licenses, as well as for their family members and close relatives.

People residing outside the prefecture can also receive the discount, according to the company, which has teamed up with a local police station to promote the initiative.

Drivers aged 75 or older accounted for 13.2% of fatal traffic accidents in Aichi in 2016, up from 7.7% in 2007, according to the prefectural police.

Some of those accidents involved elderly drivers confusing the gas and brake pedals or mistakenly putting the vehicle into reverse.

The return rate of driver’s licenses for elderly drivers was 2.15% in 2015 in Aichi, the 32nd lowest among Japan’s 47 prefectures.

Similar efforts are under way in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, where elderly drivers who return their licenses are receiving discounts for goods and services at local shops and funeral homes.

Such measures appear to be having an effect, with Osaka having the highest return rate for licenses at 5.41 percent in 2015.

© KYODO

  • -5

    Daniel Naumoff

    Savage, incredibly, mentally challenged. With the fact that they would not need that discount that soon if they stop driving, telling them... man, this is sick. No respect, no compassion, they offer nothing.

  • 6

    Giveme_abreak

    This crack me up! what for real??

  • 5

    bones

    Speechless! I can imagine the people who offer these discounts thinking"hurry up and die"

  • 6

    gogogo

    Who really thinks of these things? I'm sure a free bag of rice would have sufficed... almost as bad as the former logo mark for elderly drivers as a whether leaf

  • 10

    Disillusioned

    The elderly are only responsible for 13% of fatal accidents in Aichi. How about some incentives to get the other 87% of ratbags off the road?

  • 17

    Karen Laviolette-Nibe

    Perhaps the govt officials should consider WHY the elderly are driving & fix the problem. Are they going for joy rides? No. They drive because there are no affordable alternative transportation options. We live outside a big city: no buses, no shops within walking distance, expensive taxis. Therefore, many octogenarians are still driving, just to get to the clinic or the store. This measure is ridiculous.

  • 2

    Ricky Kaminski

    So tactful! But hey, if it works right? Line up to hand in your licence; then move along...

    Who wouldn't jump at the chance for a 15% discount on death ?

  • -1

    therougou

    You can't get a discount if you are dead. But you can use it for your spouse or other relatives if they die before you. Or maybe they can still use it for you, as long as it doesn't require proof of identity.

    Savage, incredibly, mentally challenged. With the fact that they would not need that discount that soon if they stop driving, telling them... man, this is sick. No respect, no compassion, they offer nothing.

    Maybe, but if the people that go for this are a bit savage and mentally challenged as well, wouldn't we want them off the streets?

  • 7

    Aly Rustom

    The answer is simple: if you want the elderly drivers off the streets the best thing to do is to offer them an alternative. improved and free access to public transport is one

  • 10

    Striker10

    Could have used a discount a few months ago when we held a funeral for our grandfather at a Japanese funeral home... between the funeral home itself, the florists and the buddhist priests, I've never seen such greed before. It's despicable the way they take advantage of people at a vulnerable time.

  • -2

    Citizen2012

    be ready for the next round then, "Hurry-up and die" and get your relative a discount on their taxes...., if they think the elderly are responsible and a problem, then put an age limit on driving license, but no... this must be too common sense so let's rather offer a discount on their funerals...

  • 0

    TheReds

    What the.....??? Only in Japan.

  • 1

    Dango bong

    how about free kegs for people with DUIs???

  • 5

    kohakuebisu

    Drivers aged 75 or older accounted for 13.2% of fatal traffic accidents in Aichi in 2016, up from 7.7% in 2007, according to the prefectural police.

    It took me two minutes to find the population numbers, but In 2005, % of Japanese people over 75 = 9.1% In 2015, % of Japanese people over 75 = 12.8%

    (the expression used is 後期老年人口割) https://ecitizen.jp/Population/Country/JP

    This strikes me as a non-issue that is fueling misunderstanding about old people and their capabilities. Independence is huge for the elderly and outside the city, cars are a big part of that. A good chunk of Aichi is suburban, and the north east corner is mountainous, just like south Nagano. In the suburbs, shotengai have been mostly wiped out by big supermarkets people drive to.

  • 1

    noriyosan73

    The government holds the license, but who holds the keys to the vehicle? In the USA people with dementia,, vision problem, and revoked licenses drive every day. In many states a driver receives a notification in the US mail that the license will expire in three months. The driver only needs to send the money to the government, and in a few weeks a new license is issued provided that there are no moving vehicle violations. Over 75s need to go to the motor vehicle department to take a written and vision test which the clerk will help them pass. The point is the surrendering of a license will mean nothing in Japan. Responsible adults need to take the keys away.

  • 0

    Goodlucktoyou

    @striker I agree, similar experience. This could also be a great marketing ploy. Surely the govt should make compulsory driving tests more frequent and develop better transport. In Kyoto senior citizens can get a free bus pass.

  • 1

    Brian Magrath

    This seems to be a sensible proposition. Some countries talk of "dangerous roads" and appear to ignore the fact that it is the people and vehicles which use them are dangerous!

    If an elderly person recognises that they are no longer equipped to drive, then a motivational effort to assist them to make what is a very emotional, yet sensible decision might be regarded as also sensible.

    Those who decry the offer might consider what their reaction would be to be advised that the captain of their aircraft about to take off, was 85 years old, and "a bit frail" .?

  • 2

  • 0

    Kobe White Bar Owner

    A few months back it was some money of some ramen and now this. Bet it took many meetings for these guys to come up with such a masterful plan, i hear they are the same folk planning the Olympics..

  • 2

    Tsuchifumazu

    This doesn't make much business sense to me. If I run a funeral shop I would rather keep people driving. Better for business.

  • 3

    Disillusioned

    between the funeral home itself, the florists and the buddhist priests, I've never seen such greed before. It's despicable the way they take advantage of people at a vulnerable time.

    I have to agree with this 500%. I chose 500% because that is about the same mark up they put on these services. The priest alone is ¥50,000 for a one hour service. It's great work if you can get it! However, you left out the government taking 50% of assets and cash in taxes. Dying rich in Japan is not good idea. If you are gonna croak you should give all your stuff to your family first. This 'incentive' is extremely off-color, but I guess it makes more sense than a discounted bowl of ramen.

  • 0

    Laguna

    Ironically, might be somewhat effective. Kids and grandkids will now be pressuring grandpa to stop driving so that they can save a bit when he kicks it. Carrot or stick - this turns into a stick.

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    If they are really serious they could make the periodic retest for the licence more rigorous - include proper eyesight tests and some type of mental competency test also.

  • -3

    gaijin playa

    this is good. a positive step in the right direction of getting elderly drivers off the roads. this will save innocent lives

  • 0

    akoppa

    Insane incentive. C'mon be creative and human. There are lots of other compensations that could be offered instead of "move on and die!"

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    15% off is not very much. You could negotiate that anyway, I would guess, with a bit of haggling.

    This sounds to me like free advertising for this company.

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