Increasing numbers of elderly drivers returning licenses
According to Okinawa Prefectural Police, 2,443 senior drivers aged 65 or over returned their drivers’ licenses between January and September that is 711 more than the previous year and the most ever.
Police speculates that the road traffic law revision that took effect in March, which obliges drivers aged 75 or older to take a cognitive function test, has prompted the elderly drivers to return the licenses.
According to Okinawa Prefectural Police Driver License Division, the number of elderly drivers who returned their licenses was 1,223 in 2013, 1,750 in 2014, and 2,271 in 2015.
With a “Certified drivers record” that the elderly can receive when returning the license, they can have a 50% discount in buses and monorail, and 10% discount when using a taxi. This service started in 2012. Many municipalities are proceeding to introduce the system for discounts at gas stations, optician shops, hot springs, and other services.
The License Division analysis points to these kinds of services increasing the number of returned licenses, and police officials say that they would like to see more seniors to return their licenses by expanding the benefits.