1 dead, 6 injured in Shizuoka traffic pile-up; truck driver arrested


One person was killed and six others injured after a truck rear-ended a car, sending it crashing into two other vehicles in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Saturday.

Police said the 63-year-old truck driver, Hirokazu Takahagi, from Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture, has been arrested on suspicion of reckless driving resulting in death, Fuji TV reported.

According to police, the crash occurred at around 6 a.m. Saturday on the Shin-Tomei Expressway. Traffic was backed up due to the start of the O-bon holiday exodus. Takahagi’s truck rear-ended a car driven by 59-year-old Chiaki Takaishi, from Fujisawa in Kanagawa Prefecture. The impact sent her car into two other vehicles.

Takaishi was taken to hospital were she was pronounced dead. Six other people in the two other cars were injured.

Traffic was held up for 4 ½ hours after the accident.

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These large trucks definitely need crash avoidance sensors. Drivers being human can't help but get complacent especially during traffic jams.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I'm actually surprised Japan doesn't have more fatal traffic accidents. People just do not pay attention when they drive. It's downright scary. Do these people think it's a game?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"These large trucks..."

It was a mid-sized truck, a 5-tonne, described in news reports as 'chuugata'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

6:00 am means he, like thousands of others, had been driving all night. Many are fighting against an overpowering desire to sleep; it is common to see their trucks weaving left and right.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Drove six hours in western Japan today and saw some atrocious driving:high speed undertaking, no signal lane changing and the ubiquitous geriatric!

Obon is like a game of dice...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sad story.

Just got back this afternoon from a week trip and covered 1,200kms yesterday & today from Tohoku to West Japan.

Mostly drivers were pretty considerate and I witnessed directly no stand out "insane" acts.

But one thing that was again re-confirmed to me - one of the most dangerous situations comes about when slow vehicles use the inside lane inappropriately.

Some just dawdle along, probably oblivious to their surrounds and the reality that they are in, causing frustration and confusion to road users behind.

Or they pull out into the inside lane to pass an even slower vehicle - often a truck - and then take eons to complete the pass. This puts themselves in extended danger as it breaks all the common sense rules about quick decisive overtaking. Often the cars have plenty of power, but the drivers hesitate to accelerate (nervous) or their cars are underpowered (read esp old K-cars) and should not be put in such positions esp on a National holiday week rush time.

And the closest calls I witnessed these past 2 days were from cars/drivers fitting the above profile.

Fast reckless speeding is dangerous -  but as equally so, is tuned out slow driving or white-knuckled embracing the wheel slow driving where the drivers often look way out of their depth.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


"These large trucks..."

It was a mid-sized truck, a 5-tonne, described in news reports as 'chuugata'.

A mid-sized 5-ton truck is large, especially compared to a 1.5 ton car or even lighter "kei". And, it would still benefit from crash-avoidance sensor technology.

You're that guy who points out a gun is semi-auto when somebody calls it auto, aren't you?

4 ( +4 / -0 )


I'm actually surprised Japan doesn't have more fatal traffic accidents. People just do not pay attention when they drive. It's downright scary. Do these people think it's a game?

It's no worse than many developed countries, and better than many others. Have you seen traffic in Seoul? Or, Mumbai? Or New York? Or, Rome?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Most likely the usual tailgating I see on roads all over Japan.

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@browny, when you say 'inside lane', do you mean the fast lane? I've always known that as the outside lane.

Anyway, I agree with what you wrote. A lot of drivers in Japan sit in that lane and pay no attention to what is happening around them. It's infuriating. Stay left unless you are overtaking. And on the rare occasions that the highway has three or four lanes, how many cars do you actually see using the slower lane? Hardly any, they seem frightened of it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

AI will solve this. Never gets tired, old, distracted, etc. I'm a former programmer and I always used to ask my clients, why let a human tell you what you already know. When we can automate, it will be right forever....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Coming from L.A., highways seem to always have traffic jams. They are different there though because basically when you get into one, it is just slow moving. Here though, you are driving along smoothly then WHAM, the highway is completely stopped. Highways are well-runned though so you know well in advance about approaching congestion.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Trucks rule the highways at night. Once I was hitch-hiking in western Japan and the truck driver told me that it is common for them to curl up and sleep inside the truck for three hours a night. Three hours is the maximum that they can allow themselves, but the minimum that the body can get by on.

Strong, tough truck drivers. Their biggest enemy on the roads? The powerful desire to sleep, he said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm actually surprised Japan doesn't have more fatal traffic accidents. People just do not pay attention when they drive. It's downright scary. Do these people think it's a game?

How many countries have you driven in? My experience includes all of the US (including NYC, Chicago, SF, LA), Britain (Scotland, England, Wales), France (excluding Paris), and Cyprus. My Japan experience is mostly Kansai.

Based on that range of experience, I would not judge driving in Japan as particularly "scary." My own truly frightening experiences have been in the San Franciso Bay Area. Much worse than anything I've ever seen in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

clippetyclop - thank you.

Yes the inside lane is the overtaking or"fast" lane.

And your comment re slow vehicle lanes. So many times, including yesterday, when 2 lanes become 3 with a sign posted "slow vehicles lane" not many people move into it. In fact I've used the "Slow Lane" on the outside as a passing lane as drivers refuse to budge. I don't like doing it - maybe it's even illegal - but when drivers essentially block the middle & inside lanes when they have a safe alternative, makes you wonder where their road sense mindset actually is.

And Henny Penny. I agree, worse driving areas can be found anywhere.

Japan is no exception. My friends Tohoku city I spent 2 days in this week, is quite different to my home city re skill, manners, awareness etc. He lived in my city for 8 years and attests to the fact that his home town's drivers nouse/manners are way above my city's drivers.

Easily confirmed when I returned.  My wife and I just shaking our heads on the final 15kms home.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some of the truck drivers here are really quite bad. Not all of them, but lots of them aren't just reckless but more like bullies on the road. They should be forced to drive at a reduced speed limit compared to cars and be more strictly regulated by the police to follow and obey the rules of the road. Some of these drivers appear to relish scaring the hell out of other drivers.

In my local area, a lot of the fatal accidents often involve trucks. Take the truck driving licenses away from these drivers who behave like idiots and maniacs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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