crime

11-year-old dies after being hit by dump truck; driver arrested

20 Comments

Police have arrested the driver of a dump truck that hit and killed an 11-year-old boy in Tokyo's Koto Ward.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 4 p.m. Tuesday. NTV reported that the boy, Kento Takahashi, was riding his bike on a crossing at an intersection when he was hit by the truck turning left.

The boy was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries about 90 minutes later.

The 32-year-old driver of the truck, Yoshihisa Yamamoto, has been charged him with reckless driving resulting in death.

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20 Comments
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Happens way to often, trucks seem to bully other cars and people, I and two woman on bikes were nearly hit by a truck because he just turned the corner when the walking man was flashing.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Such a shame.

I'm terrified when turning left. People run out of no where. Bikes appear out of thin air. You really need to be careful.

Maybe the driver wasn't paying attention. Maybe he was on his phone. Maybe the driver was racing to get the light before it changed. Or maybe the boy on the bike, at first hidden by a blind spot dashed out on his bike?

One thing we know for sure. The driver didnt set out to kill anyone that day. And the boy didnt set out to be killed.

I've said it before and ill say it again. When traffic lights are green, all green men should be red. These accidents happen too often. Clearly the ability for cars and pedestrians to have a 'go' signal at the same time is a recipie for disaster. It's an easy problem to fix.

Its easy to pin it all on the driver, but when the system is broken, fix it, before another needless death. Two families are ruined by this. Will anything be done? I doubt it.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

No details, and yet if they're already charging him with that it sounds like another pretty clear cut case of a truck speeding through the intersection and expecting everyone else to work around it instead of the driver paying attention to the road himself. RIP to the little boy.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

when he was hit by the truck turning left.

Here we go again, pedestrian and vehicle both have green lights, just asking for trouble. RIP kid, these crossings need to be redesigned.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't understand why it is not possible to have pedestrian buttons that stop all four directions of traffic to facilitate safe crossing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't understand why it is not possible to have pedestrian buttons that stop all four directions of traffic to facilitate safe crossing.

Traffic gridlocks would be the result of that. Footbridges and tunnels are the best solution.

Japanese children, in fact most Japanese people, are completely clueless when it comes to road safety. This is unlikely to improve as the adults, parents and teachers, are incapable of teaching the children. The police being completely useless when it comes to enforcing laws concerning cyclists just adds to the death toll too.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

In the UK we use to have public safety awareness films, they were shown on TV showing adults and children various dangers, like crossing the road, it was/is called the green cross code, the clip of film had a man dressed in a costume and he explained the dangers of crossing over the road between parked cars, he showed them where it was safe to cross and to look both ways. these films have not been shown on TV for a few years now, possibly to save money, but since they have stopped the accident rate for children has gone up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For the average driver and pedestrian in Tokyo, dump trucks (dumptruckitis) will remain a pain until the country runs out of sand and gravel.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is it my imagination, or are the trucks in Japan too big and too fast for the roads here? Some of these big trucks take up an entire lane and to almost spill over and across the center line of the road, and if the driver is in a hurry then it's like a fullback plowing through on the goal line. Anyway, I don't like the way a good many of them drive. Honestly, how many people who drive in Japan have had to almost pull over on the shoulder when some monstrocity on wheels comes barreling down the road towards you, and sometimes that can be rather scary when there ain't all that much shoulder on the road to begin with.

Monster-size trucks shouldn't be allowed to travel at the same speed as cars. The area I live in (yes, Japan) has also seen its share of tragedy involving trucks and pedestrians and bicycles. One Japanese doctor I know who performed an autopsy on a couple who were riding on a scooter and hit head on by a truck told me that (judging from the injuries of the couple who were both killed) that the truck which hit them had to be going at least 90 k.p.h., and that was a conservative estimate. It might have been going over a hundred k.p.h. How can you tell? I asked. By the amount and severity of body damage, he said. Not that it really matters, but the truck driver responsible in this case was completely unharmed. It just helps to explain the size difference of what happens when a big speeding truck collides head-on with an oncoming scooter.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japanese children, in fact most Japanese people, are completely clueless when it comes to road safety.

No disagreements here. It all goes back to the previously mentioned issue of spatial awareness

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

We pedestrians and cyclist too need to take a very proactive measure when crossing the road (regardless if we have the right of way or not) by just doing a quick shoulder check as we enter an intersection. These drivers just don't give a cr@p ..... a quick look and paying attention to one's surroundings might save your life.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No details, and yet if they're already charging him with that it sounds like another pretty clear cut case of a truck speeding through the intersection and expecting everyone else to work around it instead of the driver paying attention to the road himself. RIP to the little boy.

Ever driven a dump truck? Kind of hard to turn left while speeding. Way to go assuming something that was not even written nor reported in the news.

I don't understand why it is not possible to have pedestrian buttons that stop all four directions of traffic to facilitate safe crossing.

Got one about 200 meters from my house. They exist, and they also exist in many places in Japan as well. Just no everywhere. WHere there are many children around I agree they should install them, not too hard either.

Traffic gridlocks would be the result of that. Footbridges and tunnels are the best solution.

Not necessarily, ever seen the Shibuya scramble cross? In fact ALL scramble crossings in Japan, (Okinawa too) are all ways full stop.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan, at about 50%, has an abnormally high rate of pedestrian and cyclist deaths as a percentage of all fatalities involving motor vehicles - and too large of a percentage of this number are children.

According to the World Health Organization there are about 6500 road fatalities every year in Japan.

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/2013/country_profiles/japan.pdf?ua=1

For a country with an aging population and falling birthrate you would think everything would be done to preserve and protect life - especially the lives of its young people. This doesnt seem to be case.

This Japan Times article from a couple year`s back explains the situation well.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/05/13/national/media-national/road-death-stats-hide-the-truth/#.VRPp9LkcTIU

If the government`s excuse for not building safer streets is that it's too expensive or that it would inconvenience drivers, then what they are essentially saying is that they do not value life.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Second time a child has been killed on a crossing this month

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I drive at least 100 kms a day between my different jobs. I see both aggressive drivers and clueless pedestrians and bikes and motorcycle drivers as well! The bicycles and pedestrians KNOW they have the right of way but they should have the common sense to look first! Even paying attention I've been surprised by people darting out of nowhere and I've slammed on my brakes to avoid them. Someone above said "since he's being charged it's a clear case of the truck speeding through." But as bikes and pedestrians have no fault the truck is guilty 100 even if he wasnt speeding through or talking on his phone. Even if can prove the kid popped out of nowhere he's still charged 100%! It doesn't mean a clear case of him screwing up. I feel so sorry for the boys family, may he rest in peace.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I started driving in Japan in 1969. Back then, truck drivers were the terror of the road. As bad as they be today, they're several times better than they used to be. As to the point of who's the blame, the Japanese system (which I disagree with) is that it amounts to a case of who's stronger ... meaning that someone on a bicycle is stronger/has more force than a pedestrian, car stronger than someone on a bicycle, truck stronger than a car, etc. You get the picture. Bigger/stronger in the Japanese legal system means they carry more responsibility - - - No Matter the actual Cause of the accident. Cause & effect seem to have little place in the Japanese mind, especially in their legal system. Last point --- completely ditto that the Japanese police are as useless as wings on a pig. Actual safety is of no concern to them; it's all about their bonuses.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan, at about 50%, has an abnormally high rate of pedestrian and cyclist deaths as a percentage of all fatalities involving motor vehicles - and too large of a percentage of this number are children.

First of all, Japan has a very low rate of motor vehicle death, among the lowest in the world, so that has to be contextualized, 50% of 6 500 is still less than 16% out of 35 000 (data from the US).

Second, Japan has an insanely high amount of pedestrians and cyclists compared to other developed countries. According to trip surveys, anywhere between 30 and 50% of trip in Japan are made on foot or on a bike in most cities, in North America, that total is closer to 10%. Yet, the pedestrian death rate per million people is slightly lower in Japan than in the US, so, per trip, walking in Japan should be seen as 3 or 4 times safer than in North America.

Third, Japan's streets are not favorable to high speeds, the result is that when there are accidents involving motor vehicles, these tend to occur at much lower speeds, so that the likelihood of drivers or passengers dying in them is much lower.

Overall, I think walking in Japan is quite safe. Europe is safer, but that's largely because pedestrians are concentrated in old urban areas where cars are extremely rare or are forced to drive at very low speeds.

As to the solutions proposed here, the idea of making every pedestrian crossing a protected crossing (when the light is green for cars, it's red for pedestrians and vice versa) is not helpful in my mind, except in a few exceptional cases. Having lights do that would encourage people to jaywalk all the time. Who wants to have to wait 1-2 minute at EVERY intersection to get a light? It would also make drivers less wary of pedestrians and cyclists, so when they drive on roads without traffic lights, they will be more likely to drive carelessly as they're not used to ceding the right of way to pedestrians and cyclists. Finally, as it would make walking and biking anywhere extremely time-consuming, it would incite people to drive more, and more cars on the streets means making them more dangerous.

It seems to me that most of these accidents are due to trucks, buses or other heavy vehicles. I think people should look at the design of such vehicles to see how they can be make safer to drive.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let's do this like I think the army does: This tragedy is everyone's fault. The driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, traffic/ped laws, street layout and design, conflicting indicators, lack-of-defensive driving course work, etc.

Thus, tomorrow? Put the whole damn city on lock down. For the whole day. All are punished. For one day. No one drives, moves, full stop.

Perhaps such a stupid and radical action such as this will give everything pause for 24 hours; time to reflect; time to discuss.

Then let 'em all back out on Saturday and see if it did some good.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In the UK, far to many accidents happen during the rush hour. The Mayer of London launched a campaign titled "It won't hurt". You can see posters on all public transport locations. Some of the ones I've come across says, " it won't hurt to hold on" "it won't hurt to take a little time on the steps" "it won't hurt you to wait for the green lights at crossings" etc

I've always taken the "senpai" rol since age 6, my primary school (at city of london) (Junior school) days. My most famous statement was "wait a little at crossings or wait a lifetime for an ambulance". a statement that stands strong to this day.

No matter what country, age, career or means of transport. People are always rushing, in trying to save a few seconds they risk the safety of themselves and those around them. When involved in an accident the "rush" seems to disappear, although a little too late. You find yourself waiting an hour or more for a ambulance. Many of the accidents are life threatening.

The headmaster from my primary school remembered the statement well. I was even asked about a year ago to give a speach about it at a parents evening school assembly. When I asked why a "parents evening school assembly" and not a normal assembly? The response was quite a surprise. "Because its something both the parents and pupils can learn from.

I hope those that read my post lurn or be reminded of my point. Any teaches or anyone in the education department? Please feel free to use it as an extract for one of your lessons. Thank you

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Brian Wheway: In the UK we use to have public safety awareness films, they were shown on TV showing adults and children various dangers, like crossing the road, it was/is called the green cross code, the clip of film had a man dressed in a costume and he explained the dangers of crossing over the road between parked cars, he showed them where it was safe to cross and to look both ways. these films have not been shown on TV for a few years now, possibly to save money, but since they have stopped the accident rate for children has gone up.

Still available, on youtube, "green cross code": http://tinyurl.com/qj8hh8n

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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