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Blame Your Blood Type for Bad Driving?

Does your blood type determine your likelihood at getting in an accident when you’re behind the wheel? Maybe so, according to a couple of driving class instructors in Fukuoka.

In Japan, when you renew your driver’s license, you’re required to attend a “safe driving” lecture. These lectures come in half-hour, hour, two hour, and three hour varieties, depending on the age and record of the person renewing. Drivers with an excellent record, for example, only need to take the 30 minute version, while drivers over 70 must take the 3-hour one. Note, also, that many Japanese treat blood type as an indicator of personality in the same way as Zodiac signs.

Asahi.com and ZakZak are reporting that two of the lecturers at the Fukuoka Driver’s License Center in Fukuoka City decided to add some rather unusual material on blood types to their presentations. The lecturers, male retired police officers in their 60s, told their students that your blood type affects your likelihood of being in an accident. Not surprisingly, there have been complaints about this unorthodox material.

The lecturers said that they were just trying to get people interested in the lecture, but in hindsight it was a bad idea. They told the Fukuoka Traffic Safety Association that they don’t even clearly remember where they got the idea, but it was probably from a book or something of the sort, and they admitted that there’s no scientific proof to back up the claims.

If you’re wondering what sort of blood runs in the veins of good drivers, they claimed that Type O has the highest accident rate and that Type A is the safest. Type B may be good at working on cars, but they’re overconfident and thus prone to careless accidents. Type AB tends to be neurotic and easily fatigued, so they often rear-end people on account of being drowsy behind the wheel.

The online news source ZakZak (J) decided to find out if there’s any basis in fact. According to AIU Insurance and the Blood Type Human Science Study Center, at-fault accidents broken down by blood type are: Type O, 35%; Type A, 34.3%; Type B, 19.6%; type AB 10.5%.

Compare these numbers with the breakdown by blood type of the Japanese population: O, 30.7%; A, 38.1%; B, 21.8%; and AB, 9.4%. Based on these numbers, Type O drivers are indeed slightly more likely than average to cause an accident, Type A somewhat less, while B and AB are pretty much average.

The Blood Type Human Science Study Center also looked at accident rates within each blood type based on driving experience. Turns out that they found the Type O drivers most likely to cause an accident had between 1 and 10 years of driving experience. Type A and AB drivers were most dangerous as rookies, with less than a year of experience behind the wheel. Type B, meanwhile, had the most dangerous veteran drivers, with the worst group having between 10 and 15 years of experience.

They accuse Os of causing the most accidents involving pedestrians, As of winding up in single-vehicle crashes, Bs of being prone to standard collisions, and ABs as being the most likely to rear-end somebody.

To add one more level of driving voodoo, online insurance company InsuranceHotline.com (E) publishes a book called Car Carma that claims your behind-the-wheel safety can be correlated to your Zodiac sign. A peek at their “free preview” shows that the most dangerous drivers fall under Libra, while Leo boasts the safest.

Put all this together, and if you’re a Libra with less than 10 years of driving experience and a blood type of O, you’d better watch out. If you’re a Type A Leo veteran driver, then your insurance premiums should be rock bottom.

Or not.

Cloud-shaped License Plates

The pretty plates, as seen on Matsuyama City’s website.

In a bit of a turnabout on those boxy watermelons, Matsuyama City (J), in Ehime Prefecture, made national news by producing the first-ever license plate in Japan with curved edges.

The cute little cloud-shaped plates, intended for use on scooters and small motorcycles, became available on July 2nd. The cloud shape is a tribute to Ryotaro Shiba’s historical novel “Saka no Ue no Kumo” (roughly, “Clouds Over The Hill”), about Japan’s tumultuous 19th century Meiji Period. The novel takes place in the region, so the city has adopted it as something of a theme—they opened the Saka no Ue no Kumo Museum this April.

The plates come in three colors, depending on the size of the motorcycle. Matsuyama City plans on making 12,000 of the plates available through the coming year; they’ve already received orders for over 1300 of them.