• Kyodo

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With traffic accidents involving elderly drivers a growing problem, more incentives are emerging to entice seniors to give up their driver’s licenses.

Heiankaku Co., a funeral provider in Aichi Prefecture, has been offering 15 percent discounts at its 89 funeral homes there since March for customers who turn in their driver’s licenses. Those who want the discount must provide proof from police that their licenses were surrendered. The discount is only available to family members and close relatives. According to the company, people outside Aichi are also eligible.

Drivers 75 or older accounted for 13.2 percent of Aichi’s fatal traffic accidents in 2016, up significantly from 7.7 percent in 2007, according to the Aichi Prefectural Police.

Some of the accidents involved elderly drivers who confused the gas pedal for the brakes or mistakenly put their vehicles into reverse.

In 2015, the return rate for elderly driver’s licenses was 2.15 percent in Aichi, the 32nd-lowest rate among the 47 prefectures.

Similar efforts are underway in Osaka, where seniors who return driver’s licenses receive discounts for goods and services at shops and funeral homes.

Osaka appears to be making progress on the issue because it posted the highest driver’s license return rate for elderly drivers, 5.41 percent, in 2015.

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