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81-year-old driver arrested after killing two pedestrians on highway in Okinawa

37 Comments

Police in Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture, have arrested an 81-year-old woman on suspicion of dangerous driving resulting in death after her vehicle hit a signboard and then careened onto a sidewalk, and ran into two people, killing them, on Saturday.

Local media reported that the incident took place at around 5:20 p.m. on National Route 58. Police said Haruko Uehara was driving a light car when she hit the signboard for road construction work, and then went onto a temporary sidewalk without guardrails, knocking over a 62-year-old man and his 56-year-old wife.

The couple were tourists from Nepal, police said. They were taken to hospital where they died of their injuries shortly after arrival.

Police said Uehara has denied the charge and quoted her as saying she felt she hit something after the signboard but didn’t know what.

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37 Comments
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Too many old people shouldn't be driving around the country.

It's too difficult for young people to get licenses but super easy for elderly to keep them.

Most in 80s & 90s have no business driving .

17 ( +25 / -8 )

Most in 80s & 90s have no business driving .

In many areas in Japan, public transportation can be really poor. So driving is the only option for people who live in those area.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15070097

Police in Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture, have arrested an 81-year-old woman

First reckless elderly driver that result to death in the beginning of this year.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

No mor elderly driving cars!!!..

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

*more

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

She hit the two and continued driving, as it is a case of hit and run. She then ran into a barrier set up for construction, and stopped. She was driving a kei car.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

In many areas in Japan, public transportation can be really poor. So driving is the only option for people who live in those area. 

it’s up to the government to find a solution to this, either via the delivery of food or through the provision of transportation for the elderly. People above 75 have no business driving a car.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

In many areas in Japan, public transportation can be really poor. So driving is the only option for people who live in those area.

Not this time. She lives in an area where there is plenty of public transportation AND the city itself offers a bus service for residents just like her, elderly who shouldnt be driving!

https://www.city.urasoe.lg.jp/article?articleId=609e70933d59ae2434bfd8bd

17 ( +22 / -5 )

@Yubaru

That really depend on exact location where she lives and where her routines, even there are buses she might still need walks 30-40 minutes. Elderly they have knee and hips problem if they really walks long enough.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

 She was driving a kei car.

First choice of car for elderly driver, cheapest you can get.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Police said Uehara has denied the charge 

What exactly is she denying? That she hit the people, or something else?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

As @sakurasuki pointed out, cars are the only means of transportation for many elderly people living in rural areas. “No more elderly driving cars” is tantamount to saying they should starve to death.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

cars are the only means of transportation for many elderly people living in rural areas

Naha-Urasoe-Ginowan is as urban as it gets, with loads of public transportation, bus discounts and as previously mentioned, shuttle buses for the elderly.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Hit SOMETHING, they were just Nepalese Tourists.

Looks like I may ride down to Urasoe today.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Watch your back! When I see elderly pulling into conbinis I give a lot of leeway. One mistaken push of the gas pedal and game over.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If it’s still there, there is a Japanese Language school that many Nepalese attend.

I wonder if someone’s parents were visiting them. Right across the street from Kinser.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That really depend on exact location where she lives and where her routines, even there are buses she might still need walks 30-40 minutes. Elderly they have knee and hips problem if they really walks long enough.

Actually just about everywhere in Urasoe is within a short distance from a point where public transportation is available. That includes the city run bus as well.

Obviously you are talking about a location you have no idea about, and dont forget there are taxis too, and if she can afford to drive a car, she can afford a 500 yen taxi to anywhere close enough to get public transportation, and if she has knee or hip problems, she shouldnt be driving in the first place!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

As @sakurasuki pointed out, cars are the only means of transportation for many elderly people living in rural areas. “No more elderly driving cars” is tantamount to saying they should starve to death.

And which has ZERO to do with the incident here in this article. Yeah it's a problem elsewhere, but definitely not one for a person who lives in one of the largest urban areas on island here.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Well, that just evens things up. A week ago or so a woman hit and killed an 87 year old. Even steven.

Seriously, older drivers tend to drive poorly the older they get. I know. I'm old. I've stopped driving. At the very least, they should have to renew their licenses frequently, which should include a road test. That's not to say all older drivers are bad, but as an age group, it wouldn't hurt to have even the good older drivers tested more frequently.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The question is not the age of the drivers but whether the drivers have their minds with them or not.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

ctually just about everywhere in Urasoe is within a short distance from a point where public transportation is available. That includes the city run bus as well.

Not to mention the Naha Monorail was recently extended to Urasoe as well.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Concensus seems to have driver above 70 something give up licenses. I would say the same for politicians.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It doesn’t depend on where they live, or if there is public transportation or not. When someone at an age that he/she cannot safely drive the vehicle. A license should not be issued.

At the ages between 70 to 80, only super fit, rare individuals should have driver license . That should be less than 10% of people at that age. Over 80, nobody should be driving.

If they don’t have a means of transport in their area, they need to move to somewhere else where they can live without a car.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, that just evens things up. A week ago or so a woman hit and killed an 87 year old. Even steven

How so both were female drivers! This time it was a man and a woman.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If they don’t have a means of transport in their area, they need to move to somewhere else where they can live without a car.

Right, easier said than done. Many on fixed incomes, can't afford the nursing homes, or are not eligible because they are healthy. Safety issues, mobility, medical, a plethora of other reasons make it difficult to just make a blanket statement like this and expect it to suddenly be the answer.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

There is no political will to fix this problem. Older voters are the bread & butter of the LDP. Population decline will only continue, with the birthrate falling each year ad infinitum. The ruling class will do nothing to alienate their base, even if it means more of what we read in this report.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is she too old to be driving?.....Yes, but so much depends on where these people live and why they can still get a licence at that age. If she did not have a car or licence could she have gotten to her destination without them, people nearly always find other ways of getting around if need be. The other thing, when she is found guilty what would her punishment be?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are also good older drivers. On Jan 1 we went with an 80+ neighbor and her driving was first-class and safe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

> sakurasukiToday 07:05 am JST

She was driving a kei car.

> First choice of car for elderly driver, cheapest you can get

Don't know about the elderly part but my kei cost over 2.5 million yen. It is the equivalent of a kei luxury car, and, among its many features, has collision avoidance, which could have prevented an accident like this by braking the car without driver interaction. It will bring the car to a complete stop if it senses an obstacle in front and the driver response is deemed not adequate. It won't even let you pass a cyclist on the road if it senses the bicycle to be too close to the vehicle. All kei cars are not the same.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There are also good older drivers. On Jan 1 we went with an 80+ neighbor and her driving was first-class and safe.

then one could argue the opposite. If she cannot be a reason to withdraw one’s license, but only the capability to drive, why not letting 10-13y.o. kids drive? As long as they are tall enough to reach the pedals, that should be enough, right?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

*if age

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most in 80s & 90s have no business driving .

Exactly, the government here should make public transport free or at nominal cost for people over say 70 , like other advanced countries do so they don't have the need to keep driving even when their reflexes are down the drain.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Mocheake

my kei cost over 2.5 million yen. It is the equivalent of a kei luxury car, and, among its many features, has collision avoidance, which could have prevented an accident like this by braking the car without driver interaction. It will bring the car to a complete stop if it senses an obstacle in front and the driver response is deemed not adequate. It won't even let you pass a cyclist on the road if it senses the bicycle to be too close to the vehicle. All kei cars are not the same.

You can easily find expensive kei car if you want, EV key car also exist if you want to have it.

However if you try to find new car or even used car with same year and same mileage, the cheapest one you could find will be kei car.

.

Don't know about the elderly part but my kei

That driver using Daihatsu Mira, you could get easily used Mira for less then 300 thousand yen, some even less 200 thousand yen.

https://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/articles/gallery/1286894

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I have to renew my license in three days. I turn 70 in two weeks. When I learned to drive many, many years ago my instructor taught chauffeurs for military general staff and government cabinet ministers in the skills they needed for both defensive and offensive driving. On my first day behind the wheel he said something that I've never forgotten - "a car is a weapon, don't ever forget that." The renewal of my license is good for 5 years, and after that I'm divesting myself of my wheels. I've survived two head-on collisions that were both 100% the fault of the other drivers and ended up in hospital after both. I don't want a repeat of either.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The headline makes it sound like the people killed were walking on a highway instead of on the sidewalk.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A car isn’t a weapon, it’s a conveyance, but like other machinery it can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Ťheres no reason elderly people shouldn’t drive if they’re capable. There’s a good case for more regular testing beyond 70.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It has nothing to do with age and everything to do with attention and awareness. Is the driver there, looking at the road in front of him/her? Or is he/she "with the fairies?" As my old physics teacher used to put it.

A lot of older people fall into the latter category, but so do many of the younger ones.

A driving test that examined the driver's ability to drive and react to emergency situations over a 30 minute time frame would sort it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@sakurasaki:

That driver using Daihatsu Mira, you could get easily used Mira for less then 300 thousand yen, some even less 200 thousand yen.

> https://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/articles/gallery/128689

Your main point and mine differ. First off, the car did not cause the accident so her driving a cheap Daihatsu Mira is irrelevant. She obviously was not paying attention and/or isn't a good driver. My point is not just about the money; just that all kei cars are not the same. I bought an expensive one for features that could help me in a variety of situations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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