Elderly drivers willing to surrender licenses when they experience physical decline: survey

JIJI

Three quarters of drivers intend to voluntarily return their driver’s licenses when they age and become aware of physical decline, a government survey released on Friday showed.

Of the 1,555 drivers who responded to the survey, 74.3 percent, the largest proportion, said they would surrender their licenses by choice. Multiple answers were allowed in the Cabinet Office survey on the voluntary return system, the first of its kind in the country.

Recommendations by family members or doctors were cited by 26.3 percent. Elderly drivers who will consider giving up licenses if driving becomes unnecessary for them due to improved public transportation accounted for 17.4 percent, while 10.9 percent said they will do so if they cause an accident.

The proportion of those who do not intend to return their licenses stood at 9.2 percent, according to the survey.

The survey also found that 96.7 percent of drivers who responded were aware of the system.

The government calls on senior drivers to use consultation services to check their driving ability in order to encourage them to return their licenses.

But of the respondents, only 41.1 percent were aware of such services and 55.9 percent said they were unaware of the system.

Older drivers can apply for driving record history certificates after surrendering their licenses. Such certificates can be used to prove identification.

When asked what would be a factor leading them to return their licenses without concerns, again with multiple answers allowed, 56.3 percent of the responding drivers — the largest share — cited fare discounts or exemptions for public transportation.

Improvements in public transportation were favored by 48.4 percent, while better door-to-door delivery services to support shoppers were chosen by 41.8 percent.

The survey, covering 3,000 people over age 18, was conducted over 11 days from Nov. 16 last year. Of the 1,839 people who responded, 1,555 were current drivers.