national

Design of senior driver logo may change later this year due to poor image

30 Comments

The orange and yellow Japanese maple leaf sticker stuck to windscreens or to the body of a car to indicate a senior driver may change later this year, following criticism over its design and results of a survey which revealed about 40% of respondents felt the logo resembled a dying or withering leaf.

The current design was chosen from public entries and introduced in 1997, but the results of a survey carried out by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Force in April suggest that people approaching 70 took issue with the design. 3597 men and women who renewed their license in April were asked several questions about the design, with 1779 respondents being over 70 and 1818 people aged 16-69.

Fifty-one percent of respondents ticked boxes saying they liked the design or really liked it, and 46% chose responses saying they didn’t like it much or not at all. Fifty-three percent of those aged 50-69, 52% of those aged 70-74 and 48% of those aged 30-49 said they didn’t like it or not at all, indicating that people grew less fond of the design as they approached 70 – the age at which drivers are asked to display the logos.

When asked about their impressions of the logo, 42% chose a response which said the leaf did not remind them of the fall change, but of a withering or dying leaf. Some 25% respondents chose an answer which said they felt warmth and familiarity when they saw the logo.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department will seek public entries for a new design and a committee will select the winning entry in September. They will then conduct a public survey and ask people if they prefer the new logo or the current one.

When the maple leaf logo for senior drivers was introduced in 1997, people aged 75 or older were asked to stick them to their car windscreens or attach them to the body of the car. The age was lowered to 70 in 2002. But given a roughly 50% increase in road deaths involving elderly drivers over the past 10 years, and that the percentage of elderly drivers displaying the maple leaf logo hovered at just 35% as of January 2006, the government decided in June last year to legislate a 4,000 yen fine and the loss of one demerit point for drivers over 75 found to be driving without the logo on their cars.

This move however was met with opposition and criticism, with claims the elderly were being harassed. The police were forced to delay by one year enforcement of the fine and the loss of one demerit point, and the legislation was repealed this April.

© News reports

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


30 Comments
Login to comment

I always made the mistake of calling the mark "kareha mark" thinking it was the opposite of the "wakaba mark"given to beginners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"the logo resembled ( resembles ) a dying or withering leaf"

I think it resembles a teardrop shaped pumpkin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why are they needed? Is having a sticker on your car indicting you're a new driver or an elderly driver really going to prevent accidents?

That's like a saying wearing a seat belt is going to prevent an accident or wear a lifejacket is going to prevent a ship from hitting an iceberg.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Take driving rights away after 65. Kill the logo. Cant have seniors mowing down the taxpayers keeping Japan afloat, barely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think stickers should only be required for new drivers, drivers with vision impairment, and for drivers who have accidents. In these cases, the sticker provides some warning for drivers around them to be a bit more careful, stay a bit further away, etc.

Some people at 85 are great drivers, though, and I do think it's insulting to have to post a sticker when there is nothing diminished about your abilities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All this asking to display garbage needs to be stopped. Learner drivers have to display the learner driver logo. It is mandated by law. It should be the same for these old folks as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

40% of respondents felt the logo resembled a dying or withering leaf.

hahahah!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only thing up for possible negotiation here is the design.

Actually some of the more active older drivers take advantage of the leeway other drivers give them on seeing the withered leaf. I have noticed the occasional bit of really quite aggressive driving from some senior citizens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As was once explained to me, the purpose of the stickers in the first place for both beginners and the eldery, was to provide an easy-to-see indication of why the person driving a car with such a sticker might make a silly or irritating driving error. It wasn't designed to be a punitive measure, a la The Scarlet Letter, as much as it was designed to let other drivers know to be more forgiving of possible less-than-stellar driving, i.e., cut the offender some slack for driving painfully slow or forgetting to signal properly.

But then again, this thinking only functions under the assumption that society has a more neighborly attitude towards fellow citizens in the first place. Judging by the tone of this thread has taken so far, it would appear that assumption was a bit premature.

If older drivers want an image that's more positive, then more power to them. I'd support it wholeheartedly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is one more thing I don't understand about sticker on the car. "Baby in Car" "Akachan ga nottemasu" Safe drive is what everybody has to do, not only someone with baby. Dose it mean "hey, be careful, that car is with a baby." "hey, let's crush, that car is wiht an old man." ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i think it means: please bear with my driving/driving attitude.. i have an uncontrolable ankle-biter on board so feel free to overtake me when there is no danger..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maple leaf design?? Has anyone in Japan ever seen a maple leaf? It sure does not look like that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

40% of respondents felt the logo resembled a dying or withering leaf.

Is this a euphemism for elderly drivers? I had a 70 something jiji pull straight out in front of me today without even a hint of looking to his tight. It was only the fact I have ABS and could steer around the jerk that saved the life of my daughter sitting in the front seat next to me. They should have a sticker and a 3m tall red flag on their cars. They should also have to do quarterly tests to prove their competence and reflexes. I'd suggest an intelligence test, but half the driving population would fail that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

40% of respondents felt the logo resembled a dying or withering leaf.

sure they did when given a multiple choice selection.

selection A: Bright summer flowers selection B: dying leaf selection C: withering leaf selection D: Taro Aso, B and C.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

benhur at 12:54 PM JST - 26th July i think it means: please bear with my driving/driving attitude.. i have an uncontrolable ankle-biter on board so feel free to overtake me when there is no danger..

I can understand that. Thank you very much.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If we have to have stickers advertising our weaknesses to other drivers, then how about a 'Stoned' sticker, and a 'Drunk' sticker and a 'Hungover' sticker and a 'Suicidal Today' sticker and a 'Backseat Driver' sticker and an 'Arguing' sticker and a 'Habitual Cellphone User' sticker and a 'Suffering from Flu' sticker, and a 'Road Rage Tendencies' sticker...

Come to think of it, age on its own may not be such a bad thing after all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It does help to understand that certain driving patterns can be excused by other drivers if they are aware that the driver is an elderly person. Helps to prevent road rage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like the sticker, I put one on my desk at the office... Although, I still have 20 years to go until 65 ;)... In general, it's okay to sign beginner and oldies in traffic. I can be aware of why for example the car in front of me is driving slowly or unsecure... From my view, the sticker can be even more colorful, to see it earlier.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do believe that these magnetic symbols are optional. The green and yellow is optional, as I was told. I think that they all are. They are supposed to warn other drivers of erratic driving habits.

They seem silly and would only be valuable for one reason: they are universally recognized and have been taught to all drivers for many years.

Which means that changing them every few years is in fact the only stupid thing you could do. Giving people more reasons to ignore them truly proves how much people value them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, they are required, the wakaba for one year from the date you got your license.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Himajin...Just called the licensing office. They are NOT required. Like to know where you got that info...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshinsha_mark

And, when our son got his license three years ago he was told it was mandatory for one year. I'm not making things up, have no fear.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%88%9D%E5%BF%83%E9%81%8B%E8%BB%A2%E8%80%85%E6%A8%99%E8%AD%98

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oops, looks like I can't post a Japanese-language link here. Google 'shoshinsha mark' in Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, the link worked fine.

A licence center out here in Western Japan told me the same thing: For newbies at least, the stickers are mandatory for one year from the date of receiving your licence for the first time. You can't get around it. And if you're in an accident at some point in that year without the sticker properly affixed, apparently there is some sort of additional penalty. The licence center guy didn't eleborate; He seemed satisfied in topping off his helpful info with a crafty smile.

For older folks though, I don't think it's mandatory, but rather voluntary, based on self-assessment of one's driving skills. Which would suggest to me that there are at least some elderly drivers out there who seriously overestimate their ability. There probably needs to be some sort of official reassessment of a person's driving skills at certain age benchmarks, like 70, 75, 80 and so on - assuming there isn't already.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh good, I may just be having moji-bake problems then......happens sometimes...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wakaba marks are indeed mandatory. The other one at one point was going to be mandatory but after the big stink of it being "a dying, whithering leaf" it was deamed to be "old folks ijime" and they are cutting back on it being required, only recommended.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Like to know where you got that info...

Like to know which office you called, sharky...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the logo resembled a dying or withering leaf

fits well I thought for a driver on their last legs..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was told the new-driver mark was optional because I had been driving for more than 20 years in my home country, but highly recommended. I used it...no harm in it, especially if it got me a bit more patience from others when I was figuring out how to get my car into an MC Escher parking spot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites