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were forced to delay by one year enforcement of the fine and the loss of one demerit point, and the legislation was repealed this April.© News reports