The scene of an accident outside a supermarket in Osaka on Monday night Photo: FNN/YouTube
crime

4 injured after 80-year-old man backs car into them in Osaka

36 Comments

Four people were injured after they were hit by a car driven by an 80-year-old man in a supermarket chain’s parking lot in Osaka.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a LIFE supermarket in Konohana Ward. The injured people were  a two-year-old boy, his seven-year-old sister, their 28-year-old mother and a 53-year-old woman pedestrian, Fuji TV reported.The victims were taken to a hospital where they were treated for minor injuries to their head and legs.

Police arrested the driver, Hiroaki Masunaga, at the scene on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in injury. Police quoted Masunaga as saying he mistakingly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.

The incident occurred near the parking lot entrance. The two children and their mother were hit as Masunaga was backing out of the parking lot. He then hit the pedestrian on the sidewalk.

Several bicycles parked near the area were found toppled to the ground.

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36 Comments
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I was in a busy car park trying to enter the exit queues.  An old fella (about 85+) tried to back out and did so on the basis if he did it really slowly he would be OK.  So he slowly hit me side on.  So slowly no real damage done.  But it did make me question that his driving abilities had dropped to the level he thought if I do it really slowly everything will be aright.  And it wasn't.

But it is not the oldies (of which I will soon be) that worry me on the road.  It is the younger people, particularly the 20 - 25 age group that think everyone but themselves are idiots on the road.  The reverse is actually the truth.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I am convinced these incidents caused by the elderly have been happening for a long time, but are now just starting to be widely reported. Maybe this reporting will put some pressure on the Government to make some changes to the driving laws.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Here we go again. How many is it going to take?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

But it is not the oldies (of which I will soon be) that worry me on the road. It is the younger people, particularly the 20 - 25 age group that think everyone but themselves are idiots on the road. The reverse is actually the truth.

Funny, since the actual official statistics say the opposite is true.

https://www.npa.go.jp/publications/statistics/koutsuu/H29zennjiko.pdf

1 ( +4 / -3 )

My mistake, linked the wrong statistic. This one:

https://www.e-stat.go.jp/stat-search/files?page=1&layout=datalist&toukei=00130002&tstat=000001027457&cycle=7&year=20180&month=0

Page 17 for those that are interested. The most dangerous group of drivers are people aged 40-49 according to the statistics.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thankfully no one was seriously hurt. I was just in a taxi from Narita a few days ago and the driver was obviously over 70, the worst driver of my life. He kept tapping the accelerator and brake constantly. I think mandatory retesting needs to be implemented asap, and stricter enforcement against driving while using a cellphone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the actual official statistics say the opposite is true.

The most dangerous group of drivers are people aged 40-49 according to the statistics.

Dunno where you're looking, in either report.

The graph on P17 (in both reports) shows clearly that drivers in the 16~29 age group cause proportionally way more accidents than any other age group. The over-80s come a distant second.

The 30~69s form a pretty close group, all much of a muchness. The 40-49 year-olds don't seem particularly dangerous?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@cleo: The graph on P17 (in both reports) shows clearly that drivers in the 16~29 age group cause proportionally waymore accidents than any other age group. The over-80s come a distant second.

That is very interesting. I think it is scary for the latter however, because young drivers can probably drive well if they are attentive and receive better training, but older drivers are physiologically incapacitated by age and no matter how hard they try they can make horrendous mistakes such as pushing the accelerator instead of the brake. The only solution is to take away their driver's license.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Reckless

The only solution is to take away their driver's license.

Reckless, what a reckless proposal.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The graph on P17 (in both reports) shows clearly that drivers in the 16~29 age group cause proportionally waymore accidents than any other age group. The over-80s come a distant second.

That chart shows number of people injured / killed. Doesn't talk about who caused it... right?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Whether a driver is dangerous or not has very little to do with age. It has a LOT to do with attention - being there - being aware of your surroundings.

People driving along in a dream are dangerous, whether they are 20 or 90.

I'm fed up with having to slam my brakes on turning a corner because some idiot has decided to block the road on a blind corner to take a cell phone call! I've seen plenty of people do that - never an older person!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Brakes and accelerators are placed too close. Not only old folks but also young people often step on them mistakenly, I hear. Human feet cannot react rightly and quickly as hands can. What about making brakes controlled by the hands of drivers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Time to teach 2 feet driving for automatic cars. Left foot for the brake and right foot for the accelerator. It has other advantages like holding a car on a hill without having to yank on the side brake each time. The time for shifting the foot from the accelerator to the brake is too long. Once the brain has learned to using the left foot for the brake, it is impossible to make a mistake on the accelerator.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I am convinced these incidents caused by the elderly have been happening for a long time,

Roughly 30 years ago I helped a friend of mine build two log-houses, imported from Finland, here in Okinawa. Everyday when we finished work, and were sitting down having a few beers, one of the older guys in the village, in northern Okinawa would pull up in his "Kei" car, the back end dented in countless numbers of places.

He was 83, he had one beer, then had to "run" home to make dinner for his mother! She was 104.

We asked him, where all the dents came from, he told us, he used to "back" into all sorts of things, now he only drives "forward"

So yeah, they have been going on since old folks here kept on driving!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

From the picture it looks like he did more than just reverse into people. Looks like his driver's side had a serious word with that lampost too. And he has a puncture.

I see a lot of folks here reversing out of parking lots onto busy roads, instead of doing a U turn in the parking lot. Could never work out why they make life so difficult for themselves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Drivers make mistakes. This is not only an elderly driver thing. It’s just the fact that the media like to sensationalize the elderly drivers. How many other accidents happened today not involving elderly drivers? Perhaps better cognitive testing is needed. They are already tested twice a year. However, no amount of cognitive testing is going to prevent human error.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This looks like the spot. No idea what he was doing but he's made a right mess of turning his car around.

https://www.google.co.jp/maps/@34.6873847,135.4502007,3a,75y,349.31h,81.04t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6efXQELbrCGitoM7hYIDRw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

And before you ask, yeah I was bored enough to google this ;(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While the topic has come up again re which age groups cause the most accidents, the 2 most pertinent points, as have been mentioned countless times before,are always -

1) Which age group has the most fatalities - the over 65 group with a whopping 55-60%

2) How many kms does each age group cover per annum in order to realize their statistics - the over 65 group covers way less kms giving a reading of excessive fatalities in comparison / km than other groups.

Many of the accident statistics (not fatal) recorded by NPA include include thousands of minor bumps that would not be officially recorded in many other countries.

All groups are guilty of recklessness, speeding, inattentiveness etc but sadly it's the elderly who are dying at a greater rate.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lucky he didn't kill anyone.

Thanks for the map Clippety. My guess from looking at the Street View and the above photo is that he pulled into the parking lot despite it being full, and then tried to back out onto the road, hitting people and various other things on the pavement.

From the map, like the Ikebukuro incident, it looks hyper built-up and not an area where anyone, elderly or otherwise, would need a car to survive. I lived happily without a car in a less built-up suburb of Osaka for ten years. As yokohamarides might say, someone who messes up on an electric assist bicycle would struggle to put four people in hospital.

As for the accident data, I think the thing the police are worried about is the rising number or percentage of fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers, not the number of accidents itself. Thankfully, this accident itself did not cause a fatality.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Young and old have traffic accidents. So, what else is new?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Over and over we read of this. Enough, old people need to stop driving.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Automatic emergency brake systems that can detect pedestrians and obstacles would prevent incidents like this. They're becoming commonplace in new cars, but perhaps not quite fast enough. If you've got an older driver in your family, it might be a really good idea to make sure they drive cars equipped with this kind of system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The aging population are the largest growing criminal demographic.

The older this country gets, the more the elderly will affect the safety of the young.

We need to mitigate this nation-wide trend.

It will only increase otherwise.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Here we go again. An old person gets in another accident and it's the same song and dance 'but younger drivers are more dangerous'...

News flash, we're talking about elderly drivers here. Whether younger drivers are more dangerous or not is irrelevant and doesn't change the fact that elderly drivers can be dangerous behind the wheel and something needs to be done about it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

 I think mandatory retesting needs to be implemented asap

When you renew your license at age 70 as I did two years ago, you have to attend a four hour course that includes lectures, various mechanical tests of your reflexes, peripheral vision, etc., and various common driving skills done on a driving school practice course.

When you renew at 75 and older there is additional testing.

I do not have the time to investigate a wide range of countries, but I have checked Britain because I held a DL there that I let lapse. Japan is considerably in advance of Britain when it comes to checking elderly drivers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

We took my grandmother's car away when she backed in to parked cars in a shopping center parking lot. We also did the same when my mother started developing dementia and could not retake the driving test because she could not understand the questions. Elders after say age 65-70 should be tested every 2-3 years. Problem is that you can purchase and own a car without a driver's license in the USA and there are many young to old folks folks who drive on expired licenses. Driving is a privilege and not a right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

browny1 - 1) Which age group has the most fatalities - the over 65 group with a whopping 55-60%

This is incorrect. It’s less than 20%

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the selfishness of this stubborn old goat, thinking he can still drive. It could have been much worse.

Wonder how long it takes before Japan does anything that will stick. The free udon coupons for handing in your license didn't work. They might have to come up with a character for it

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Time to teach 2 feet driving for automatic cars. 

This is a REALLY bad idea for obvious reasons. If you cannot operate an automatic car, you really shouldn't be driving.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

smithinjapan

Here we go again. How many is it going to take?

How many is what going to take ??? I don't get it. The pedals on a lot of small car are very close together unlike the larger vehicles manufactured where the pedals are a little further apart. Now I was not at the scene of this accident but pedestrians also have to watch out for vehicles when in a congested area like a supermarket parking lot. Japan is NOT a place with a lot of room to move around in. I'm sure this was a place with little room to move around in safely. The fault for this accident can go in many directions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Police quoted Masunaga as saying he mistakingly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake

ayayay....again. How much more dumbed down and stupid proof do we have to make our cars? I think we need to bring back manual transmissions and require older people to be able to drive them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do the hustleToday 06:36 am JST

browny1 - 1) Which age group has the most fatalities - the over 65 group with a whopping 55-60%

This is incorrect. It’s less than 20%

Thanks for the reply - I stand to be corrected, but I believe my quote of fatalities % is about right. I don't mean the accident %, the overall traffic fatalities%.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am convinced these incidents caused by the elderly have been happening for a long time, but are now just starting to be widely reported. Maybe this reporting will put some pressure on the Government to make some changes to the driving laws.

These accidents have been reported all the time. It's been glossed over in TV and used as tropes in political satire movies. The whole ''stop elderly people driving'' debate has been around for a long time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That chart shows number of people injured / killed. Doesn't talk about who caused it... right?

Wrong.

The section is clearly titled, 交通事故の状況 - Traffic Accidents, not numbers killed or injured. Number of accidents. The title of the graph is 原付以上運転者(第1当事者)の年齢層別免許保有者10万人当たり交通事故件数の推移 - Changes in the number of traffic accidents per 100,000 driving license holders, by age of the driver (principle party)

Note 4 at the bottom of P17 states clearly 「第1当事者」とは、事故当事者のうち最も過失の重い者をいう。 - The term 'principle party' refers to the person at greatest fault among those involved in the accident.

An old person gets in another accident and it's the same song and dance 'but younger drivers are more dangerous'...

Mmm, no. An old person gets in a traffic accident and statistics are produced to show that 'older drivers are the most dangerous'. Simply pointing out that the stats say no such thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Would love to know why idiots think left foot braking is bad.. I hear it often, always amusing since it's objectively better in all metrics.

Go tell every modern F1 champion they can't drive...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The beating of a dead horse continues.

We get it, the elderly shouldn't be driving.

None of this matters until the laws change, and police actually enforce such laws.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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