Japan is trying to reduce the number of car accidents involving elderly drivers by offering seniors the only thing they love more than their independence: discounted meals. The Guardian reports that starting this month elderly drivers in Aichi prefecture can hand their driver's licenses over to police, receive a certificate in return, and then present that certificate at any of 176 Sugakiya restaurant locations to receive a meal of ramen, rice, and salad for about $4.50—a 15% discount. The certificate also entitles its holder to discounts at public baths, barbershops, and more. A similar plan in other parts of the country gives elderly drivers who voluntarily give up their licenses a discount on buses, trains, and taxis, the Miami Herald reports.
There are 4.8 million drivers over the age of 75 in Japan. That's double the number in 2005. And over the past decade, the share of traffic accidents involving elderly drivers has gone from 7.4% to 12.8%. The main causes in such accidents include dementia and elderly drivers mixing up the gas and brake pedals, Rocket News reports. “I hope you will surrender your driver’s licence and live to the end of your natural lives,” says a 97-year-old Buddhist priest who turned his license over this month, per the Guardian. "It’s stupid to try to maintain your licenses just out of pride.” It's also stupid to pay more than you have to for ramen.