Would You Trade Your Driver's License for Cheap Ramen?

Miso ramen Asian noodles with beef and egg in bowl on white marble background.
Cheap ramen for life! (Image: Lisovskaya/iStock/Getty Images)

Japan is often ahead of the curve in technology and innovation, but a new low-tech strategy aimed at getting senior citizens off the road may be the country’s latest success story. The nation is now offering their elderly population cheap ramen for life if they give up their driver’s licenses — and it’s actually working.

As Japan’s elderly population continues to soar, that means there are more and more older people on the roads than ever before. And, according to the Japan Times, that increase in senior citizens is becoming a problem when it comes to road safety.

The Guardian reports that having an increased number of senior citizens behind the wheel has caused the number of fatal accidents in Japan attributed to drivers over 75 to spike, going from 7.4 percent to 12.8 percent in the past decade.

While it’s hard to have the discussion about giving up driving to your older loved ones, Japan’s delicious answer to the problem comes in the form of discounted ramen from Japan’s giant Sugakiya restaurant chain — aka the best reason to take public transportation that we’ve ever heard.

In order to get their hands on the discounted noodles, senior citizens in central Japan’s Aichi Prefecture must turn over their licenses and, in return, they will receive a “driving record certificate.” They can then take that certificate and show it for a discounted meal combo of piping-hot ramen, rice and salad.

According to the Guardian, similar promotional discount deals for giving up a driver’s license have been going on all year in Aichi. Even before the ramen promotion, more than 12,000 elderly citizens in the prefecture had already given up their licenses to get their hands on some delicious deals.

Since America’s elderly population is also growing, perhaps following the Japanese model of giving incentives via discounts is a model to follow, especially considering its success so far. Free pizza for life? Yeah, we we might be willing to give up our licenses for that.

What Do YOU Think?

Would you give up your driver’s license for free or discounted food? Have you had to talk to loved ones about giving up their licenses? How do you talk to loved ones about sensitive subjects without hurting their feelings? Let us know in the comments!

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