In one of the sillier stories of a historically silly year, Japanese authorities are now bribing elderly drivers to give up their driver’s licenses — in exchange for coupons that will lower the cost of ramen noodles. No, this is not an article from The Onion. This is happening in real life.
Why would Japan ask such a thing of their elderly? It has a lot to do with the fact that they seem to be putting a lot of innocent lives at risk by remaining on the road. Yaron Steinbuch of The New York Post reports, “The offer comes amid a spate of deadly accidents caused by vehicles driven by the elderly — a growing problem in a country where 4.8 million people aged 75 or older have a license. Those who relinquish their license will receive a certificate that will cut prices from 590 to 500 yen – about $5.20 to $4.43.”
If the authorities are actually concerned about the well-being of these elderly individuals, you have to question just how healthy a diet of ramen noodles could possibly be. They’re historically filled with sodium, which is not exactly what people who are coming up on the last years of their lives should be consuming on a regular basis, if at all.
Still, at this time, the government is not forcing elderly citizens to hand in their driver’s licenses, leaving this a completely optional decision. Though it is extremely strange and something that is easy to poke fun at, it is a far cry from fascism and that’s a very good thing. During an era when government overreach has become the norm, it’s nice to see the powers that be trying to get creative in order to achieve their goals. It may not be a good idea and it may not even work, but at least they aren’t trying to oppress people based on their age.
So where do you stand on this issue? Should elderly people be allowed to drive after if they pass all the requirements necessary?