crime

11-year-old boy dies after being hit by taxi in Chiba

29 Comments

An 11-year-old boy died on Thursday after he was hit by a taxi at an intersection in Chiba City. The 57-year-old driver was arrested at the scene for negligent driving causing injury, but police said they will upgrade the charge to negligent driving causing death.

The fifth-grade elementary school boy crossed the Midori Ward intersection on his bicycle at about 5.50 p.m. when he was hit by the taxi coming from the left. The boy suffered severe head injuries and was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead about four hours later.

The taxi driver, Yoshikazu Matsuzaki, 57, called police straight after the accident and told them the traffic light was green, and so he went straight ahead. He added he never saw the boy until right before the collision.

Police said the boy lived nearby, and had gone out of the house by himself.

© Wire reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
Login to comment

Unfortunate story. All I know is here in Osaka red traffic lights mean nothing to taxi drivers and regular drivers. It's common to see 1-2 cars go through completely red lights. The amber caution light means 'step on it'. On the other hand, if the driver can prove it was green, what's with the charges? It was green!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At least this guy stopped and admitted what he did.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@dbung10: yeah for sure. how many times have we read about these drivers just running away. what was the one a few months ago? with the 2 year old. He said he didn't even know he hit anything. I notice when a fly hit my car.

I wasn't there, so I cant place blame. but I have almost hit people and cars and bikes about............ 1 trillion billion times. Everyday! every sec I am in the Car. Just down the street to Family Mart, I only have 10 cars, four grannies, and about 3000 students to dodge, who are all in the middle of the road. I have been tempted to drive on the sidewalk since no one uses those. Driving in Japan is crazy. Bikes everywhere, old grannies crossing anywhere. Down on main street in my city, people just stop where ever, put their emergency errrrr i mean 'park anywhere you want' lights, and just open their door into traffic with out looking.

this guy is a professional driver, so he is good enough to not to be a 'negligent driver' He is in a car like 10 hours a day. about 10000000 times more than all of us combined. the chances of him hitting someone in japan in his lifetime are about 1 out 1.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Was the boy wearing a helmet???? It could have been saved his life since the cause of his death was the head injury. At 5:50pm, it is pretty dark outside nowadays, and elementary age kids should not be riding a bike when its dark outside. They should get home BEFORE its dark. Still, my heart goes to the child and his family..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have dodged a zillion students on bicycles who just presume that you will stop for them as they zip out across the street. I don't who was at fault so i dont want to point fingers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

dbung10: At least this guy stopped and admitted what he did.

And his case may be yet another declaring what a mistake that is!

If the boy was hit on the left, that means he was half way across the street before he was hit, and obviously, not paying any attention (He missed a taxi bearing down on him. They are not painted as stealth vehicles). Even if he had the right of way, he was not paying attention. If he did not, then he is guilty of causing his own death.

If the taxi driver is guilty of running a light that just turned a split second earlier, then how did the boy get halfway across the street so fast? That would mean he jumped the green which is even worse than running a fresh red. Things happen and (rightly) take your attention and cars cannot always stop so fast. Circumstances also demand running a fresh red, or some places traffic would never move.

But if the taxi driver ran a red that had been red for a long time, then jail him. Only I seriously doubt he did that. But I can guarantee the boy was not paying attention. People put too much stock in the green man. All he does is tell you its your turn. He cannot and does not verify if its actually safe for you to cross. Only you can do that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fishy: agree and RIP young man

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unless you are on a highway with a central barrier seperating the opposing lanes of directional traffic, it is completely legal in Japan for pedestrians to step out into the road when the whim takes them at any time whatsoever, with you the driver being liable for their actions. It is completely irrelevant whether the traffic lights where green, blue, pink or black.

Furthermore, in Japanese road traffic law, the larger vehicle is always considered at greater fault than the smaller in a collision. Always. For clarity: a motorized vehicle is considered larger than a cyclist or a pedestrian.

For anyone driving/considering driving in Japan, you really need to understand this: Unless you are on a highway, you will most probably see jail time if you are unfortunate enough to have a collosion with a pedestrian that results in their death - no matter what the circumstance. Suck up the 15k JPY and fit ETC to your car, and stay off normal roads. The investment may just guarantee your liberty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People put too much stock in the green man. All he does is tell you its your turn. He cannot and does not verify if its actually safe for you to cross. Only you can do that.

Looks like we are actually in agreement on this one Investigator! Ues, in theory if the green man says so you should be able to go. The reality as we all know is often entirely different. I teach my kids when they cross the road, not to just go on the green man but watch out for the cars still coming, and never assume a driver has seen you - try to even make eye contact if you can with the drivers turning into the street you are crossing.

I dont know the circumstances here, but Investigators analysis sounds pretty accurate. Generally speaking taxi drivers are shocking red light runners, but then so are elementary school kids - Ive seen both on many occasions. I`m actually impressed that the driver actually stopped!

@auntplum - you are right and this is worrying me a lot as we are about to take delivery of a car in the next few weeks and I will be driving for the first time since coming to Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Was the boy wearing a helmet???? It could have been saved his life since the cause of his death was the head injury.

A severe head injury probably means he was run over by the car - a bike helmet wouldn't have helped that.

Taxi drivers are awful here - them and the big truckers (supposedly professional drivers all) are the worst on the road by far.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If this is a taxi, perhaps it has an accident recorder (all the taxis around here seem to come equipped with this device). Furthermore, it would be interesting to know what the kid was wearing (visibility), whether the bike had lights (visibility) and whether the child was wearing a helmet.

Who knows, the police might also want to talk to the parents about this one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bike helmet wouldn't have helped that.

How ignorant. Of course it would have. Any damage would have been reduced, no matter how relative.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Everywhere I have been taxi driver swear they are above the law and dont not have to take the same precations as other drivers. I hope that out of this tragedy some type of awareness dawn upon taxi driver so this does not repeat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When the light is green for a car turning left, the pedestrian crossing light is also green. The boy on the bike wasn't in the wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But if the taxi driver ran a red that had been red for a long time, then jail him. Only I seriously doubt he did that. But I can guarantee the boy was not paying attention. People put too much stock in the green man. All he does is tell you its your turn. He cannot and does not verify if its actually safe for you to cross. Only you can do that.

I agree mostly with this - but I do need to point out that every, and I mean EVERY day of the week on my commute to work (by bicycle) I see a driver run a red light, and not just by half a second or so, people actually accelerate into them and are travelling at speed through the crossing when the green man is lit. The green man always gives a second or two leeway as well, so these people really are running reds, not just going into a crossing on amber and coming out the other side as the lights go red. Its selfish and people that do it need to be punished, but they rarely are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This particular case is tragic, but not abnormal. It is the result of the absence of a cycling / pedestrian proficiency program in elementary schools, and perhaps inadequate parental guidance. In this instance, a cyclist crossed a main road at dusk on a red light, and was hit by a vehicle that was travelling at or below the speed limit, in a straight line through the junction on a green light. The vehicle was not conducting any manouvers or making a turn at the junction. This was a rather odd thing for the cyclist to do - yet the taxi driver is liable, even though his life was endangered by the actions of the cyclist. This unjust logic perhaps partly explains why the incidence of hit and runs are so high in Japan.

@kirakira25, congrats on getting the new car. There is a lot to do and see in Japan that can only be done by car, as the public transport infrastructure that is synonymous with Japan is only really present in large cities.

I drive daily to visit patients, and I also like to get out of town at the weekends. I have perhaps covered 400,000km in Japan in my time here. I am on the road almost everyday of the week. If you are to use your car as daily family transport, get to know your area on foot or bicylce first - learn where the cyclists come straight across the road without looking; learn where the pedestrians cross at night in dark clothes to avoid walking a few extra steps over a footbridge; learn where the mums congregate and fair poorly at keeping their young out of the road. Know your area - this is where you are at higest risk of having an accident. Use your sidelights at dawn and dusk - even if other road users do not. And use the highway whenever you can - safest roads in the country ;-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've been doing a lot of walking around parts of Chiba lately and I am waiting for the day when my name is in the headline of this same story. The taxi drivers are complete butt-wads. They speed. They harass other drivers. They sincerely believe they are the kings of the road and rules don't apply to them. They are just complete butt-wads and that is all there is to it. One would expect the local police force to jump up and straighten them out, but that would mean taking their energy away from more important duties. So we will see more bands of old people with funky armbands giving out tissues to the taxi drivers and asking them to stop being butt-wads on the road. - As saddening as this report is, it is in now way, shape or form surprising to me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

KallyPygous at 02:55 PM JST - 16th October

When the light is green for a car turning left, the pedestrian crossing >light is also green. The boy on the bike wasn't in the wrong.

The driver went straight, not left.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taxi-speed-driving could be a reason for this tragical accident. In general, all over the world taxi-driver are always driving too fast, time is money it seems. But the most impressive drive for me was early this year in Kyoto. The taxi-driver speed-up to 90 in the middle of the city. Well, here you will lose the driving license at once for such a speed...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How ignorant. Of course it would have. Any damage would have been reduced, no matter how relative.

Excuse me? How rude.

It's sad to say but a bike helmet would do NOTHING to stop a severe head injury caused by being run over by a car, any more than a tshirt stops a bullet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How will we ever know if the light had been green? And even if it had been, that is not the issue. Having a green light doesn't give you the right to hit anyone. This isn't China.

The key question is (and always has been): Were you prepared to stop? Answer: NO!

Wrongful death: 200,000,000 yen. Next case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even if a driver is going under the speed limit, it is almost impossible to not hit someone who jumps out in the middle of the street. If this kind of accident is the driver's fault, why aren't speed limits in cities reduced to 5 or 10km ph?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is too sad for the boy but a lot of accidents like that could be prevented if there was a law forbidding to cross the zebracrossings on a bicycle. It is often impossible for a driver to see those cyclers who just zoom up with lightening speed. This is not the driver's fault, it is the country's fault for allowing it. In my country people have to get off their bicyles and walk across.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even if the kid swerved in front of the taxi without warning, it's the taxi driver's fault in the eyes of the law.

"Wrongful death: 200,000,000 yen. Next case."

Next case: Sorry, don't have and won't have 200,000,000 yen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I will never drive in Japan!

I agree with Bogi. It should be the boy's fault for placing myself in front of a moving vehicle that had the right of way. If not, why have traffic lights in the first place?

The charges against the driver are a travesty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it absolutely bizarre (i.e. totally unsafe) that cars and people can cross the road at the same time, using only your own and relying on other peoples judgement/observation in order to remain safe.

In the UK is is simple, when the green man come on the lights are red for vehicles. When the green light is on for vehicles, the red man is on for pedestrians. Therefore pedestrians and vehicles are restricted from crossing the same piece of road at the same time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thus, it is the dangerous traffic light system that is a major cause of these tragic accidents...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Traffic here really scares me - I'm always worried one of the kids will get hit...and the accident figures are really high.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There needs to be tougher laws in this country for drivers who fail to stop at a red light. Only the other day, some stupid driver came through a red light almost ten seconds after it was on red and nearly wiped my car out! I never let my kid out on his bike alone for fear he will be hit by a car.

Even though this light was on green, the crossing system was also on green. Another completely stupid system of road safety at work. RIP kid.

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