It's something we'll all have to face sooner or later: How do you tell your parents they're getting too old to drive?
In Japan, they're trying to tackle this sad, but all-too-real rite of passage in the most efficient and painless way possible: bribery. In Aichi prefecture, police are hoping to lure the keys away from elderly drivers by offering them ramen discounts for life.
Senior drivers have become a growing concern in Japan as the population gets older and increasingly senile. As of last year, the number of Japanese drivers over the age of 75 has doubled since from 2.36 million to 4.77 million since 2005, according to the English-language newspaper Japan Today. During that same period of time, Japan's National Police Agency reports that the proportion of all fatal accidents attributed to drivers over 75 has spiked from 7.4 percent to 12.8 percent.
And, so, enter the ramen.
Anyone willing to hand over their license will get a "driving record certificate," which can be shown for a kind of a prix fixe meal of ramen, rice and salad. At just 500 yen (about $4.38), it represents a 15 percent discount from that meal's regular price.
In other parts of the prefecture, officials are offering similar incentives to pull the aging drivers off the road. So far this year—even before the ramen deal was announced—nearly 12,000 seniors living in Aichi had voluntarily given up their licenses in exchange for discounted goods and services.
But now that ramen is on the table, there's no chance that number doesn't skyrocket in the coming months, right?