crime

8-year-old boy dies after being hit by truck outside home in Yokohama

26 Comments

A second-grade elementary school boy was killed on Monday when he was hit by a truck outside his home in Totsuka Ward, Yokohama. Police said the boy was hit by the 3-ton truck just after 3 p.m. as he was returning home from school with a friend. He was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead about two hours later.

Toshiyuki Tajima, 37, was arrested at the scene for negligent driving resulting in injury, but police said they will pursue a charge of negligent driving causing death. The accident occurred on a straight section of road, about 10 meters from a pedestrian crossing, near the boy’s home. The boy had just parted with his friend, who witnessed the accident, police said.

Tajima was quoted as saying: “The boy suddenly came out from between cars in the opposite lane that had stopped due to the congestion. I pressed the brake but couldn’t stop in time.”

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26 Comments
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poor kid and driver. kids should learn to stop first then look and assume the car will not stop for them.

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I cant stand truck drivers in Japan, but these idiot kids running across the road without looking makes me more angry

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he was just 8 year's old. how many 8 year's old aware of danger with their own act? many adult here don't even look left-right before cross a road.

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This is a problem in Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and Africa. They're going through what the US went through when cars were first introduced. People are crossing the road in ways they shouldn't and drivers are driving fast, cutting corners, and edging up on pedestrians as much as they can. Don't know enough about this case, but in Japan and Korea cars will run right up to you and cut you off (safely, but with no margin of safety) all the time. It's "skilled" driving but dangerous driving.

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Typical Japanese truck driver. A 3 ton truck and like most of them, ill bet he was speeding going down these narrow roads. He even admits he saw congestion, yet took no measures to slow down.

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japanese pedestrians dont look cause getting hit by a car in Japan could be potentially like winning the lottery.

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It's a shame the boy died, or was even injured, but I feel for the driver as it sounds like the boy was crossing at a time/place he should not have been. Now the driver will pay dearly for that boy's error in judgment. Sad.

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Feel sorry for all involved. Some truck drivers drive dangerously, some kids dont always look when they cross the road. I ride a bike every day in tokyo and always always always assume that the driver in front of me / at the next crossing is going to do something stupid or selfish. Every day a driver DOES do something stupid or selfish. Who knows if that was the case with this truck driver...

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The road I know in Totsuka (direction to the JR eki) is very narrow and very busy. I guess there is no clearance on both sides of a big truck (just 10-15cm or so).

Poor boy - my son's also in 2nd grade and I always think what might happen if not extra careful. And in that age they are not always careful enough...

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I feel sorry for the trucker. If I was a driver in Japan I would install cameras in my vehicle. Front for stupid pedestrians and back for nutty tail gaters.

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there is nowhere stated that the truck was speeding. but it is stated that the boy jumped in front of the vehicle from a blind spot. at this point, it's mostly the boy's fault. of course, the driver may have been drunk, speeding, asleep, talking on the phone etc., but let's not rush to generalize from personal experiences, truck driver = speeding, etc. etc.

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The driver is always at fault. Defensive driving dictates that the driver should always slow down whenever the road is not clear or if there are blind spots/corners. He/She should always give an allowance for people/bikes/cars suddenly appearing. Right of way is not the issue. Safety comes first.

RIP for the poor kid.

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How sad. Poor boy and poor family. I worry about this everyday since my 7-year-old daughter started walking 20 minutes to school. In the morning, I am not as worried as the older 5th/6th graders lead the younger ones to school in a group. But coming home is the problem, as the older ones are in clubs and can't see the younger ones home. Thankfully, my wife isn't working at the moment and leads the younger ones home. But not all kids have someone to watch them home.

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It sounds as if the boy was crossing the road between the cars that were queued at a pedestrian crossing - some distance from the crossing itself.

This is one of the most dangerous places a person can cross the road. Drivers will be focused on the crossing itself, and would have very little time to react to a pedestrian suddenly appearing from between the cars a split second after they pass it.

I know a couple of people that have been hit by cars doing the exact same thing. Luckily for them the drivers had at least slowed for the crossing, so they both survived.

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Right on, Timberlandic. You drive accordingly to the conditions. You dont fly past a mess of people and cars at 50km/hr+ in a 3 ton truck just because thats the posted speed. Common sense would have saved the kid.

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Commonsense folks...thats all it would have taken. Japanese people dont look because they pure and simply EXPECT the car or in this case the truck to stop. Many times have i seen people walk through the stopped cars never giving a second thought that perhaps a scooter or motorcycle would be ripping up between the cars. Just because one lane of traffic has stopped certainly doesn't mean the others have stopped as well. Sadly this 8 year old boy didn't know the dangers of the road because he was never taught the dangers of the road. It sadly flows down from the old geezers who just raise their hand as they walk/cycle/drive (take your pick) through the path of anything and anyone expecting the world to stop just for them as they make their way from point A to B. So sad for the parents, the driver (who could have been any of us in that same situation in that the kid ran out in front of the driver who had virtually no time to react) and the little boy who witnessed it and will not get that image out of his head for the rest of his life. It is a problem here for bicycle riders as well who zip around blind corners with no second thought at all that perhaps just maybe not only may a car be coming in the opposite direction but perhaps someone will be walking around that same blind corner. And sadly pedestrian crossings in this country are nothing but road decorations. Try standing at one and count the cars that zip by before one stops!!!!

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...and yet, I am constantly being told that I should let my kids walk to elementary school by themselves or in a group of kids.

I dont even think 6th graders can be asked to take responsibility for 1st graders - it is asking too much of 12 year olds to be able to watch 6 year olds. Its hard enough as an adult!

The driver is at fault for not driving defensively. He should absolutely have been driving for the conditions, NOT the speed limit. On the other hand, if the kid stepped out from between parked cars he is also at fault.

Very sad for all.

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hoserfella at 11:27 AM JST - 6th October Right on, Timberlandic. You drive accordingly to the conditions. You >dont fly past a mess of people and cars at 50km/hr+ in a 3 ton truck >just because thats the posted speed. Common sense would have saved the >kid.

You have no idea of the speed the truck was travelling at. What distance is required to stop such a truck from 40km/hr or 30Km/hr. More than most would expect.

It is sad that the boy died, sad for his family and friends and sad for the truck driver. His livelihood may now be in question & he will have to live with what has happened . But without more information asserting blame to one party or the other is just irrelevant. I have seen as many speeding trucks as I have stupid actions by pedestrians. They are both unfortunately too common in Japan.

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The kid has a small part in the blame, as he probably wasn't expecting a 3-tonne truck to be barrelling down his little street. But that's where it ends. The driver of the truck admits to congestion in one lane, which means the street was busy, and yet he was driving a MASSIVE vehicle on it at speeds that would not allow him to stop when he saw the boy. Sorry, but I would agree that the charges they are pursuing are just.

I don't know why they truck was on the small street -- perhaps the last leg of the delivery -- but I DO know that I see a lot of oversized trucks driving down small streets to avoid tolls on the expressways, to the point where on some streets there's really no where you can walk (if they have no distinct sidewalks). There should be size-limits, and they should be enforced.

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it's really pointless, but while we're at it, a 3-tonne truck is definitely not "MASSIVE".  They're certainly not 'kei' cars, but they're really not all that different from your average 'family car'. I believe you can drive 4 tonne trucks on a regular license. The "MASSIVE" trucks are 10 tonners I would think.

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I have two kids in grades one and three, but if it happened as the driver said I'm afraid I have to side with the driver... a kid just walks out into traffic from between cars... it's sad, makes be cringe, but the if it happened this way the kid did something very dangerous...

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it's mostly the boy's fault.

Not in Japan. It is the driver's fault regardless of the circumstances. Without jumping to a conclusion the driver was speeding, but clearly he was driving too fast to stop. If the road is as narrow and congested as mentioned he should have ben going much slower, especially around 3pm when school kids are around. Just because the speed limit is 40kph doesn't mean they have to travel at that speed. It is about time Japan jumpd out of the dark ages and started to address the ridiculously narrow roads and start putting speed bumps and other speed inhibiting obsticles onto these roads.

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Cars were stopped going in the opposite direction and the kid suddenly jumped out from between the stopped cars. By law, yes, the responsibility goes to the driver, but in actuality, the kid really was at fault, if the truck driver was paying attention and tried to stop immediately. You don't necessarily have to be speeding in order for this to happen either. Just pretty damn unlucky.

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So sad for all the people involved. There's no mention of the driver speeding or being distracted at the time of the accident but I suppose he must still be held accountable for this. I think the question we must ask is: Could the driver have avoided this terrible accident?

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Poor kid. I've been living in Japan for 10 years. Everytime I try to use the pedestrian crossing I get very upset because the motorists NEVER(hardly)STOP!! I would have to just start walking for them to stop.

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What a mess. As Speed so wisely says, vehicle speed may or may not have been an element in this fatality, but from the information available, it was definitely the kid's fault.

Even at 15 to 20 km/h, however, the boy would be just as dead.

See: http://www2.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/doi/10.1109/WMSO.2008.85 for one of many examples of research showing this. Vehicle hits pedestrian, knocks pedestrian down, pedestrian's head hits the pavement - fatal head injuries can occur even at vehicle speeds of 20 km/h or less.

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