Osaka Police Program Encourages Older Drivers To Try Car-Free Life

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Osaka Prefectural Police are planning to introduce a program that allows older drivers to find out what life would be like without a car before surrendering their license.

With car crashes involving older drivers being in the spotlight as a social issue, police hope the program will help encourage such drivers to voluntarily surrender their licenses, an official said.

The program was well received when it was piloted in September. Some participants said it was a good opportunity for them to think about what to do about their licenses.

The program will encourage older drivers to take public transport or ride a bicycle instead of driving a car. They will be allowed to drive while participating in the program.

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Participants will be asked to jot down their comments after a day of not driving a car and keep records of destinations and other details while driving, a tactic to help them realize that using taxis can be more economical than having a car depending on the frequency. and the distance of their journey.

Twenty people participated in the 20-day trial, with taxi tickets worth ¥ 2,000 and coupons redeemable in a local shopping district. One of them returned the license after the trial, police said.

Kiyotsugu Ogawa, 77, participant in the trial, said: “You can go shopping by bicycle if you are going to buy bread or ham. But if you buy daikon or onions, you need a car.

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During the trial, Ogawa had to drive his car several times to shop and take his wife to and from a hospital.

Ogawa said he would keep his driver’s license for a while because he didn’t want his activities to be restricted. But he now pays more attention to his driving skills and has a clearer picture of life without a car after participating in the program, he said.

Naoya Kanda, a professor at Tohoku University of Community Services and Science who studies traffic psychology, said whether people give up their driver’s licenses depends on the extent of the inconvenience they have. can accept.

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Drivers are unfamiliar with a life dependent on trains and buses, Kanda said. “Providing people with the opportunity to live a life without a car is very effective in helping them consider giving up their license,” he said.

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