crime

80-year-old driver arrested after his car hits, kills 15-year-old girl

35 Comments

Police in Saitama City have arrested an 80-year-old man after the car he was driving crashed into a car waiting at traffic lights and then careened into a 15-year-old girl who was walking along a sidewalk.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Fuji TV reported. Police said Setsuji Kochi told them he mistook the accelerator for the brake as he approached the traffic lights at an intersection. He rear-ended the car in front of him, then hit the girl, Seina Inagaki, a 15-year-old female high school student, who was walking on a sidewalk to his left.

Inagaki was taken to hospital with severe chest injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police said Kochi has been charged with negligent driving resulting in death.

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35 Comments
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My condolences to the family of the young girl. May she rest in peace.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Police said Kochi has been charged with negligent driving resulting in death.

How about coming down on the saitama prefectural public safety commission who are issuing and renewing these drivers licenses among drivers such as these 80 year olds.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Another old person mistaking the accelerator for the brake! I know it's a contentious subject, but I think it's time to stop renewing licenses after 70. This is absolutely tragic, it cannot be denied, but the tragedy could have been easily avoided. And now what is the man going to do? How is he going to make it up to the family? How will he be punished with the little life he has left as opposed to the ENTIRE life he took away?

RIP to the young lady.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Another sad story. My condolences to the family of the girl. The man had already arrested & should be responsible for his negligent driving. Please don't happen again.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

There is no reason why over 65s should not face rigorous retesting procedures, surly the right to life of our kids is more important than the privileged of the elderly to drive. When I got my license renewed last time, there were quite a few elderly people in front of me who were clearly struggling on the eye test but were still passed through, I think it would be pretty easy for them to cheat at it as well. Importantly it's not just eye sight, they need to test for early signs of dementia as well.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I know it's a contentious subject, but I think it's time to stop renewing licenses after 70

I'd go about it a little differently. After the age of, say, 75, make pensioners renew their licence every year. Furthermore, make oldsters residing in urban areas forfeit their bus passes and pay through the nose if they want to renew their licences. People forget that driving is a privilege, not a right.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

People forget that driving is a privilege, not a right. no actually driving is a right, that any law abiding taxpayer should be allowed to do, provided they are using a roadworthy vehicle and can prove they have the mental physical faculties to drive a vehicle, I think they should test elderly driver every year to see that they are competent

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

He'll bow, apologize, pay some reparations, then walk free. He's old, and as such will never do time.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

People forget that driving is a privilege, not a right. no actually driving is a right, that any law abiding taxpayer should be allowed to do, provided they are using a roadworthy vehicle and can prove they have the mental physical faculties to drive a vehicle, I think they should test elderly driver every year to see that they are competent.

If there are conditions or restrictions on doing something, it is a privilege. I agree with the second part of your comment, though.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Sorry for all the victims. Old people should take advantage of the free public transport passes they can get in many places and not let their pride get in front of them. This is a country facing serious dementia.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Again, people over the age of 65 should have to have their licenses renewed annually, including a road test. If they pose a danger, take them off the road.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Old people ... What a waste of a young life, tragic. RIP

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

15, in the prime of life, full of dreams and plans, gone in an instant through no fault of her own. her parents must be devastated. may her soul rest in eternal Japanese Shinto peace. Sigh

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Inclined to go with A.N's analysis. With restrictions,conditions, acceptability and tests to pass, operating a heavy duty industrial level machine in public is not a right, but a privilege to be earnt.

Once the ability to operate the said machine at an appropriate level that considers the safety and welfare of all citizens declines, then the the license should be revoked.

We don't accept it at all in other walks of life. If the metal lathe operator in a factory loses the ability to perform to required levels then his job doing such will be on the line. Same for pilot, bus driver, etc.

No one has a birth right to drive on public roads.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

He will say the routine excuse ...mistaking the accelerator for the brake , then will be released

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

technology drives death rates worldwide.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"After the age of, say, 75, make pensioners renew their licence every year."

Guys, I believe testing is mandatory every year already after 75, including a test for dementia. The thing is, they cannot refuse a person a license based on the results of the dementia test (I think they can for the eye-test and driving test, if there is one). What they do instead is try and encourage people to hand in their license instead. Agree with A.N.Other that they should be taxed through the teeth if they want to drive, including sky-high insurance premiums from the age of 70, and offered cheaper mass transit instead.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It's the old against the young from here on out.

3 ( +2 / -0 )

Right before Christmas, just tragic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I remember my father teaching to always be aware of my surroundings especially in dangerous situation like standing on a platform or drivimg or walking along the streets. He continued to say that its the other peoples mistakes that you really have to watch out for. This piece of advice had saved me on numerous of occasions. Wish more parents would teach this, especially in Japan. A green light pedestrian signal does not mean to cross without first looking both ways!!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A green light pedestrian signal does not mean to cross without first looking both ways!!

You got that right. And conversely, a red light apparently doesn't mean stop, unless there are pedestrians in the crosswalk.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

smithinjapan - agreed with your saying to take off driving license at 70, win win situation for driver and pedestrian, in this case then 15 year old still alive and the old man spend rest of his life with freedom instead of prison time.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

khalifi:

" He will say the routine excuse ...mistaking the accelerator for the brake , then will be released "

I dont think it is an excuse.... it is inherent design flaw in automatic vehicle. If anyone (octogenerian or young stud) accidentally pushes the accelerator, the natural human panic reflex is to push more. It goes against our reflexes to retract the foot and press another pedal. Hence, we have these routine accidents with drivers of automatic vehicle. The same type of accident can not happen with manual transmission cars.

That old codgers are more likely to push the wrong pedal in the first place, is a given. But we will still have this same type of accident even if you ban all seniors from driving.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I spend 3 or 4 hours every day going along the streets of Saitamashi and see incidents of poor driving all the time and not only by older citizens. Thousands of drivers are just not capable of driving safely and many thousands more don't even try. The senior citizen in this case made a mistake, whether because of his age or not we don't know. Neither do we know how he feels about it. Causing that young girl's life to be cut short may be affecting him very much. My father is 95 and I know he would be impossible to console in such a situation. However he voluntarily ceased driving on the roads many years ago for safety reasons.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He'll bow, apologize, pay some reparations, then walk free. He's old, and as such will never do time.

That some here are howling for an 80-year-old to "do time" as a way of addressing the causes of this tragedy alarms me infinitely more than 80-year-olds mistaking the gas pedal for the brake. 80-year-olds should not "do time" for what is very clearly a tragic accident. To suggest otherwise is petty vengefulness rooted nowhere in actual justice or concern for ensuring these types of accidents are minimized.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

WTFJapan , I wholeheartedly agree with you. The wife thinks there is a force field in the crosswalk sometimes. When I tell her to pay attention, she says 'the walk light is on.' That said, they need to make sure people who drive automatics don't drive using both feet. RIP and condolences to this young girl's family.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is tragic. I agree that there is wider responsibility in these types of incidents.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree, there should be more stringent testing on those 65 and older. Not just a vision test, but also for dementia and reflexes. It's a given that as one ages, one's visual acuity and reaction times deteriorate. Only those that are capable of operating a vehicle should be issued licenses.

How tragic. Condolences to the family of the young girl. RIP.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

For those screaming about severe testing of those over 65, check out the accident stats. Young drivers cause more accidents, and injuries or deaths rather than older folk. Ask any car insurance agent.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A very sad result of this accident. RIP young lady.

However, you folks should understand that that ageism is a totally inappropriate response. Using ageist terms like codger is going to bite you, as you will be older before you know it. Then you can understand how a 65-year-old mind can be so much more alert and active than the young drivers I see jumping red lights many times every day.

Shonanbb is absolutely correct that most accidents are caused by younger drivers. And it seems obvious that the headline above is useful to get people inflamed and commenting on the age divide.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This hits home for me...

My mother is only 76 and lives in the suburbs in the States.. She has been in declining health due to diabetes and we had to call the ambulance four times last year due to high blood sugar, she was in extended stays in the intensive care at the hospital. Besides the diabetes, physically she has slowed down and is slow on her feet. And to top that off, she became a problem drinker and dealing with depression since the death of my brother four years ago. Everyone around her, believes she should not drive. When I was home this summer, after my mother's latest trip to the hospital. My siblings thought it would be best to hide the keys and tell her no driving. Well anyways she found them and when she was starting to pull out of the drive way, I ran behind the car to block her from leaving. She was very pissed at me, but I knew the true reason she wanted to go alone driving... to buy another bottle of vodka.

Last month, she found the keys again and was driving to a doctor's appointment.. she ended up hitting a brick wall of the clinic and totaling her car. She had about 50 meters to stop, but she never did. Luckily, she only hurt herself mildly and didn't kill anyone else.

The policeman that responded to the accident, also responded to one of my mother's high blood sugar emergencies. He wrote up my mother and requested that her license be taken away. All of my siblings are relieved that she no longer has a license.. but she still wants to drive. She is telling everyone that all she needs to get her license back is to get an eye test. The scary thing about it is on one of her good days, she could probably convince the registry of motor vehicles to give her license back. But sadly, there have been more bad days than good ones.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Shonanbb - 'cept in my prefecture the stats are skewed way in favor of the older drivers, esp in the case of causing deaths. The same also applies to bicycles.

But with that, the ageist remarks of some have no validity here. Irresponsibility on the roads crosses all age groups and many people lack the skills of observation(not just seeing), anticipation, concentration, thinking and planning that are necessary for safe driving. Ability to start a car, turn a wheel, apply brakes, accelerate and use an indicator are minor mechanical components of the art of driving.

And sadly some people can't exercise elements from both categories.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

but I think it's time to stop renewing licenses after 70

What a bizarre statement. The assumption that all people have the same behavioral, mental or physical problems at a certain age is verging on shallow, if not delusional, thinking. And why exactly 70? Why not 63, 68 or 72? And even going by accident statistics to create a safer driving environment, a ludicrous situation would arise whereby people would only be allowed to drive between the ages of 35 and 55.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

frenchosa hits on another problem of oldsters adamantly refusing to hang up those driving gloves despite being aware that their driving isn't up to snuff anymore. A steering wheel lock should make them see sense.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I just saw two cars run a red light the other day. Seing one car running a red light is almost a daily experience. In this case the second car ran the red light about 2 sec. after the first one. It was near a koban too.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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