78-year-old driver arrested after fatal 9-car pileup


Police said Monday they arrested a 78-year-old man at the scene of a horrific nine-car pileup in Iwakura City, Aichi Prefecture, on Sunday and charged him with manslaughter.

According to police, Masataka Noda pulled out of a line of cars waiting at a red light, sped through the intersection and struck a small car, killing the passengers -- a 39-year old woman and her 9-year old son.

Several other cars were caught up in the accident, resulting in serious injuries to six people.

A police spokesman said that judging by the absence of skid marks from Noda's car, it is likely that he made no attempt to slow down, prompting the arrest.

© Compiled from news reports

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Ive actually seen guys do this a number of times here in Japan. Throw him in jail and throw away the key.

7 ( +8 / -2 )

to all the oldies out there, i'm sorry, but if under 18 is too young to drive, over 70 is too old. obviously some discrepency between what this man thinks to be the rules of the road and the actual laws. due to your stupidity and inability to be patient for enough time that it takes a traffic light to change, you've ended the life of a 9 year old. RIP

7 ( +6 / -0 )

Happens plenty in Okinawa. Have been stopped at T-junctions and have people overtake me at the red light, and then turn right without a care in the world.

Putting your hand up and not looking seems to absolve the driver of all blame and responsibility.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Commonsense is lacking in many drivers here..........

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And the 78yo didnt have a scratch right? This kind of people make my blood boil. I feel really sorry for the father who lost both wife and son.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

AGAIN!!! For GODS SAKE! They literally have NO idea.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

RIP, what a waste. I'd feel much happier if cops here would just enforce the laws and not only give tix when they are told to do so. Instead of raising the tax to 10% target the bad driver, for speeding, going through reds, driving while distracted etc etc, and its a win fall for everyone...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sad indeed. Stupid arrogant behaviour which despite what some people say, is uncommon; if it was we would be reading this story every day. Should not generalise on age though, plenty of over 70s are good drivers, as good as they were when they were your age :-) Lack of skid marks? Virtually every car these days has ABS, no skidmarks because the brakes don't lock up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What's the betting on "I mistook the brake for the accelerator"? I'll put up Y500. Any takers?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What is scary about these types of drivers (the elderly) is that they feel the little magnetic stickers they mark their cars with absolve them of road regulations. It's the responsibility of the sane drivers to be aware of them! This also leads to rage for the drivers trying to get around/away from them.

And another thing, don't park near one of those cars. I've seen one too many times these elderly drivers pulling out and scrape the cars next to them - unaware of course!

Down with the aged.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Anyone ever stop to think that he may have been trying to commit suicide? I think that is the reason for alot of the stuff old people do in Japan. I mean they step off of sidewalks into traffic, cross the street in unsafe places, walk in busy streets, and all sorts of unbelievable things while behind the wheel of a car. Suicide is the only thing that really makes all this stuff make sense.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan desperately needs to tighten up the rules for re-qualification for drivers aged over 60 (because there are now more and more elderly). Strict annual re-qualification tests on eyesight, hearing, reaction speeds and observational awareness should be implemented immediately. The rules however will never change. Why, because those in power (stubborn old men) will also be affected if they change the rules, hence nothing (as usual) will ever change.

RIP innocent family, I hope the husband can cope with the tragic loss.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I certainly agree with Harry_Gatto... Age has nothing to do with stupidness - according to an old Japanese expression : "Even dying won't cure stupidness"... Could have been a "suicide" attempt - but please don't take other people with you !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

PS. jforce : I don't know your age but remember what you wrote here when YOU become old...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

On this one I feel the fact that he is old is incidental. The plain cold fact here is that he's one of those selfish arrogant, aggressive Japanese drivers who believes the rules don't apply to him, of which, although a comparative minority, there are still far, far, FAR too many of. Japanese police need to begin to come down HEAVILY on these genuinely dangerous people.

You can witness J-drivers going through red lights long after they have changed to red every minute of every hour of every day, and if you get a chance to remonstrate with any of them YOU are the one labelled "scary"; yes, many Japanese still believe the hokum that we are scary, when the scariest people here are actually the people who hold the same kind of passport, as this story yet again proves.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the 'laws don't apply to me' types tend to be amongst the grey haired. I guess they figure they have made it to 80 and are thus either indestructible or entitled to do anything they please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In this time of the year when it suddenly gets hot, such things can happen. People who until that date did nothing irregular suddenly react irresponsibly. And in this case with such a tragic result. I think it does not help to think about the age or traffic laws. I find the Japanese way to renew the driver's license every three or five years better than the praxis in my own country,where I remember seniors bragging about the long distance they could drive despite their old age. Of course this is no excuse for the old man who caused the accident. But it need not be elders who drive recklessly,and we should be on the alert when driving in summer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You really have to watch out for the old drivers. It's no joke. There are plenty of bad drivers in any age group, but the percentage increase when you get into the senior range.

Their main problem, though, isn't that they don't follow the rules or that they drive crazy, it's that they drive too slow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strict annual re-qualification tests on eyesight, hearing, reaction speeds and observational awareness should be implemented immediately.

Such laws were implemented about 5 years ago. The trouble is, the law isn't strict enough. It does not give anyone the right to take a license away.

My MIL with Alzheimer's (Stage 4 at that time) passed the driving test because she was in her own car and she'd been driving for 47 years. Driving, however, is not just physically getting the car around a course or from Point A to Point B...many fairly affected people can do it. Where the deficits become apparent is in risk assessment and decision-making capability.....'here comes a kid maybe heading into the road, do I have to hit the brake, or is he going to reach the side of the street when I've already gone by?' If nothing unexpected ever happened, and roads never changed, even the slightly impaired elderly could be great drivers. Things fall apart when the unexpected happens.

I knew how bad MIL's AD was...I thought she would not be given a license when it came up for renewal. We had already taken her car away 6 months earlier because of frequent accidents, usually going in and out of her own gate, but finally she made an extremely poor decision and had an accident involving another car. She was going to make a right out of a T-intersection onto the main drag (main drag being the top of the 'T'). A car was turning into the street where she was waiting her turn, they had the right of way. She couldn't wait her turn, and drove diagonally across the narrow road, trying to beat the other car and get out before they finished turning in, and took off their whole front bumper. We took the keys right there.

I refused to take her for her new license, we kept saying, 'We'll drive you wherever you need to go' etc. She went behind my back and went to take the test with a neighbor who she had snowed, telling him it was fine, we were fine with her getting her license renewed. I thought she was up to something, but I never thought she'd pass. She passed!! 'See? The police say I can drive so GIVE ME BACK MY CAR!!' Whoo boy, 18 months of 'my car, my car' 100 times a day. I called the licensing center, livid. They said that by law they were only allowed to counsel the elderly they thought were impaired, to stop driving. What elderly person is going to obey 'Please stop driving, we don't think you should anymore'?

The laws are in place, but they need to add on provisions to take away someone' license in the advent of dementia or other impairment. As it stands now, doctors do not have the right to take away a driver's license, and neither do the police. It's left to family members, who in the elderly's eyes, have no authority to make that judgement.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When you're down to your last couple of grains in the hourglass I'd imagine that waiting an entire minute at a traffic light seems like a much bigger waste of time.

Jokes aside though on the way to work this morning I was driving down the road and some young driver passed me on the right doing at least 80 km/hr (I was doing the speed limit, 50km/hr) by driving out into the face of oncoming traffic, and despite me braking to slow down and give him space to get back onto the correct side (left side) of the road he barely made it back across before the oncoming traffic obliterated him.

It was totally unnecessary since about 40 seconds later I pulled up behind him at the traffic lights.

What struck me as ironic was that if I hadn't braked there's no way he could have gained that precious 2 meters that he thought was risking his life and everyone else's. In effect he was relying on my generosity to save his life... while simultaneously acting like an inconsiderate prat.

I think this old man had a similar thought process, possibly exacerbated by the tendency of people to "give way" to the elderly in Japan (mostly out of fear, never get between an obaa-chan and free food, they use their elbows viciously and they're at groin height!). He simply expected all the other traffic to allow him to go... and didn't even consider the possibility that someone might not be watching for a car coming through a red light or might be unable to stop in time, or that they might now want to stop for an inconsiderate prat.

If you're one of these inconsiderate drivers then consider this... next time you try and overtake me in the face of oncoming traffic consider the possibility that I might equally be inconsiderate and NOT risk my car and the car behind me by braking to allow you space to pull in, because if you can be inconsiderate and uncaring about other people then so can I, and if there's an accident then I won't be arrested for braking recklessly and causing the car behind me to slam into me, it'll be you who's arrested for overtaking recklessly. Think about that for a moment and try being a little more considerate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

78 years old and still no common sense? Hang him high! Fitting end to a waste of life!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's not necessarily just the elderly who pull this kind of stunt. On the contrary, I see young(er) people do it all the time. Just this morning, yet again I saw a bunch of cars go around a bus at its stop, going into the opposite lane and the first car nearly hitting a person crossing the street (whom I assume could not see the oncoming cars because of the bus). Did the driver stop? No. The pedestrian stopped while the driver raised a hand and nodded before speeding by.

I agree with other posters -- police need to actually enforce the laws, even when it's not 'driving safety week', from kids emailing on cell phones while riding bikes to people speeding through stop lights and pulling into the opposite lane to pass other cars.

At least the man is being charged with manslaughter and will likely finish his life in the klink. Plenty of time to regret his few seconds of stupidity that ended two young lives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am so sorry for the family and friends of victims:(

Rest in peace mother & son.

The murderer on the other hand, should be hurt frequently for an extended period of time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Should not generalise on age though, plenty of over 70s are good drivers, as good as they were when they were your age :-)

Yeah, but I could also say that most drunk drivers make it home okay and it would be totally true. The point is that the risk spiked.

You know, you can play age discrimination all day so long as its not with the oldies. You can send the young people off to war by force even, and never mind that they cannot even have a beer yet.

Seriously, so many of these old people need to be off the road. Just this morning I saw a line of cars risking death just to get around a car going to slow. One of the cars just barely made it around before an oncoming car passed. I thought for sure I was going to see an accident. The driver of the slow car annoying everyone and inciting them to dangerous driving? An old woman. I got a good clear view of all of it from the stop sign. Wanted to throw a brick at her car myself because my long wait at the stop was directly caused by her.

My sympathies to the dead and those that survive them. The people who let these oldies keep driving should be sharing a cell with Noda.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad, too sad. I doubt he will do any time, too old.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

mostly out of fear, never get between an obaa-chan and free food, they use their elbows viciously and they're at groin height!

That cracked me up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got my driving license in Japan.

How that was going to teach ANYONE how to drive I don't know.

Many of the lectures consisted of the instructor telling us the page of the textbook we were going to study that period and then READING THE TEXT out loud in a hypnotic monotone.

That's it!

Apart from hammering the "Don't drink and drive!" and "X percent of you are going to have a fatal accident and die!" messages, there was very little of note. Certainly no development of skills.

It was a complete rip off.

But then, Japan does seem to have a blind spot in the field of education and instruction, especially when it concerns actually getting people to be able to DO something (as opposed to memorize and pass tests).

It's a blind spot that many of us foreigners (ware ware gaijin) take advantage of.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is full of old farts that have no business DRIVING cars, trucks etc...TOO OLD stay the hell away from motor vehicles! BURN IN HELL OLD GEEZER! and poor young lady and 9 year old son, RIP.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


Please, please, do us all a favour and leave out the CAPITALISED OVEREXCITEMENT and the IMMATURE COMMENTARY. It all gets a bit wearing after a while. Thanks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It was totally unnecessary since about 40 seconds later I pulled up behind him at the traffic lights.

It's not always about gaining time. Personally, I'd rather be in front of an unpredictable nervous noddy driver who I feel is on the verge of doing something stupid than stuck behind one. Sometimes I just get the feeling... this guy is doing to do something both dumb and dangerous, and usually I'm right. Braking heavily then indicating, changing lanes without looking, stuff like that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There are bad drivers of every age group and yes, those crazy youths (@fightingviking shaking their fist out the window) that speed by us are a hazard. As are the truckers hopped up on speed, and the mom with the kids jumping around in the car or strapped to her back equally scare me.

You can say retest the elderly all you want, but for the most part old people don't care about tests, let alone rules. They've lived long enough and have an arrogance about what is right in their worlds. Stubborn, yes. Senile, maybe. If you've ever worked or lived with elderly people it is hard to get them to do respond to anything, let alone change their ways. Testing might get a few of them off the road, but for the most part these accidents will continue and will be forgotten all the same ... - yes, that was an ageist joke.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Insane! I go to Iwakura all the time for class lectures with my mother in law driving me. just too crazy! that could have been me...people that old should NOT be allowed to drive!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

also people making the "REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU'RE OLD" comments to people complaining about age, my grandparents stopped driving after 70 or after they knew or we knew they couldn't handle a car anymore.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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