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Mother, 2 young children killed in 4-vehicle crash in Hyogo; trailer driver arrested

35 Comments

A woman and her two young children were killed in an accident involving four vehicles at a bypass in Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture. The driver of one vehicle, a car carrier trailer, has been arrested on suspicion of reckless driving resulting in death, police said Friday.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Fuji TV reported.The four vehicles involved were a truck, a small car, a second truck and the car carrier trailer, driven by Koji Kobashi.

The accident occurred when the car carrier trailer rear-ended the truck in front of it. The truck slammed into the car, sending it into another truck in front of it. Kana Kinugusa, 32, her daughter Miu, 2, and 3-month-old son Rento were all crushed to death in the car. The two truck drivers sustained injuries.

Police said that Kobashi, who was arrested at the scene, has admitted to the charge and quoted him as saying he took his eyes off the road ahead of him for a few seconds.

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35 Comments
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What a horrible tragedy. Its just beyond words.

That is what you get for taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds to check a phone or whatever. The blood of two dead kids and their mom on your hands.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

This is so sad. :'(

Anyone could be a victim like this.

All vehicles need to start getting auto break sensors ASAP, especially large vehicles, which can cause a pileup.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Very sad news, the truck driver must have been going quite fast for such an impact to move a large truck

Of course k-cars are handy and cheap for family / city commuting etc they are really weak in highway accidents.

In Europe all cars are subject to crash tests to give them a rating, is there such a system in Japan?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Terrible tragedy. This picture is one reason I won't buy a K car. On the highway when driving near trucks leave plenty of space between vehicles and try to avoid have trucks behind you.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

this is terrible, i bet the guy was on his smartphone. Those K-Cars are a death trap, when is Japan going to get proper safety regulations in place for these cars i wonder.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

K-car, SUV, or just a regular old sedan, it would be hard to survive getting crushed between two trucks. Sad story.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Small car is economically better vehicle, better mileage, but it looks very disastrous in head-on collision.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

in order to shunt one truck into another (the one in the photo anyway, being pretty big) and that into the car, with sufficient impact to do that (even given that it was a K-car...) the initial impact must have been massive... and I have to think it was more than 'a few seconds' of diverted attention...

pity the family, and pity those who had to try to retrieve the bodies.....

it's rare these days to see a driver who's not preoccupied with their phone... or Navi.... or teevee....

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Kei cars should not be allowed on the highway. They are built like tin cans and they don't have powerful engines. I saw one get flipped over by a van that was making a turn. It was barely moving and still managed to flip the Kei car like a pancake.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

While I agree with darknuts that kei-cars shouldn't be allowed on expressways, I've seen plenty of large trucks on rural routes and even convenience store parking lots drive like maniacs and like they are the priority in all situations. RIP to those lost.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

I wonder if the truck was also tailgating?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Driver complacency and indifference are at epidemic levels in Japan.  Especially in those that drive large vehicles.  Until the government (a.k.a. the police) start cracking down (and I mean crack down hard) on traffic law violators,  tragedies like this will continue to happen. 

S

8 ( +8 / -0 )

How about not letting truck drivers looking at cell phones onto expressways?

This isn't a kei car issue, a regular sedan wouldn't have stood a chance against a truck that size either.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Small car is economically better vehicle, better mileage, but it looks very disastrous in head-on collision.

Economically better, yes, but apparently not so safe. As a father, my heart really goes out to them and their families. Unfortunately, things can change quickly. Sometimes for the worse. I always tell my wife and kids that I love them everyday. I once heard a quote from a US gangster, "You have to make memories, because that's what you will have in the end." After that, I learned to appreciate and nurture what I have. I also feel that people really do remember the good times and times that parents and kids are there for each other. I also tell them when the leave, "drive carefully on the road and in life."

5 ( +5 / -0 )

quoted him as saying he took his eyes off the road ahead of him for a few seconds

Didn’t the same thing happen last month and the driver gave the same excuse? These ‘multitasking’ drivers are a menace and it’s not just limited to truck drivers. One of my friends just got out of hospital after he was rear ended by some idiot staring at his phone a fortnight ago. The car hit at full speed with out any breaking. Something really has to be done by the cops to stop these idiots! Texting, speaking on the phone, doing paperwork, playing games reading newspapers, putting on make up, watching TV, the list of distractions goes on and on.

The photo of that K-car crushed like an aluminum can is exactly why I would never buy one. Who in their right mind would put their kids in one?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Police said that Kobashi, who was arrested at the scene, has admitted to the charge and quoted him as saying he took his eyes off the road ahead of him for a few seconds.

I am surprised he is alive. The force with which he would have had to have hit the truck in front of him, to force it to hit another must have been massive. It was more than a few seconds OR quite possibly he was travelling at far over the speed limit and tailgating as well!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How terribly sad.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Took eyes off the road".. to what? His phone? Pokemon GO?

Want to know more.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I can be sure that there was no safe distance be each vehicle because of how close these people drive behind each other. I always drive and keep at least 1-2 car lengths between me and the vehicle ahead of me, but other people see that as a free space so they swoop in, thus decreasing the reaction time space between the cars. So sad that 3 lives were extinguished in a instant.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

RIP little children, so sad, I really hate truck drivers in Japan, they drive them like gocarts.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Tragic story... For reference, a first-time 'distracted driving' offence in Vancouver, B.C, results in a fine of about 46,000 yen + 4 demerit points. Police do strictly enforce this law, and even touching your mobile phone while driving is considered 'distraction'. Offences after the first will basically double in terms of penalty. Even so, I regularly see drivers talking on their phones while driving...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Don't know the situation in this case but I often see tailgating and often a small vehicle practically attached the car/truck in front of it. I shake my head in disbelief when I see this, but maybe for some drivers this is normal... I don't know... seems insane to me. I try and maintain at least 40 - 50 meters both in-front and behind of me... not a hard thing to do either especially when doing regular freeway speeds of 90 - 120kms/h you need to have a buffer, on BOTH sides.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is terrible. My son is 3 and my daughter 4 months old. I'm so sorry for the young family and their kin. My deepest condolences.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Terrible lose of life plus think of the poor father. RIP

4 ( +4 / -0 )

no words can express this. I just shook my head when reading the headline.

The arrogant complacency that heavy vehicle operators have here is beyond belief. All the way up there in their steel dinosaur they don't give a crap. And as for the k-cars.... yes they are cheap, but no life is that cheap

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The 'distracted' driver must have been going at quite a speed.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In Australia there was AD campaign to tell drivers to leave a 2 second gap between car in front....It depends on the distance you travel in 2 seconds depending on your speed which is varstly different for speeds between 60 and 100kmh.

This gap is what majority of vehicles with human response time can pull up safely in!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@surfer21 - In Australia there was AD campaign to tell drivers to leave a 2 second gap between car in front....It depends on the distance you travel in 2 seconds depending on your speed which is varstly different for speeds between 60 and 100kmh.

5m for every 10k of speed. 60k (35mph)=30m (100ft) - 100k (60mph)=50m (180ft) - That is a safe distance for a car to stop without hammering on the anchors. However, many drivers foolishly think 4m-5m is ok at any speed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And in a 660cc it doesn’t matter since in almost any accident you’ll be worse off than any other vehicle.

The kei in the picture is unrecognizable whilst the truck is barely damaged....,

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Has the appearance of cell phone addiction. Even "Pro drivers" can fall under it's seductive spell.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Living more than half my life in NYC, then much of the latter half in Silicon Valley, I"m somewhat used to the way they drive in Japan, even in Kansai where they can be somewhat aggressive. I haven't really noticed any more distracted driving here than back in the US. In fact, it seems a bit less to me. And, it's fresh in my mind after driving hundreds of km on the expressways in the past few days between Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Shizuoka.

Accidents happen. People can be real idiots, which means drivers can be real idiots. Whether or not being in a standard vehicle would have saved that family's lives, Kei cars (or "death cans" as I refer to them) need to be banned from expressways, which will definitely save lives going forward. I think that's the one thing we can all agree on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"All vehicles need to start getting auto break sensors ASAP, especially large vehicles, which can cause a pileup."

Not just that but all vehicles need to force some distance between them and then autobraking would be safely used. What an unfortunate accident and a what a loss to the country losing future in 3 young lives...can't change destiny I guess as it does not have to be your fault.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the UK we have very strict system that if you are caught using you mobile whilst drive ( unless hands free) its a hefty fine and 6 penalty points on your licence, does Japan have a penalty system in place? I don't like these little K cars, yes they are cheap, but, I hate to say it, they are a death trap, this picture sent a tingle down my spine, its horrific to think that a family was inside, we forget that there is a emergency crew has got to remove and tidy up the area, before traffic can start to flow again, I would hate to be the police man that goes and knocks on the husbands front door and has to give him the sad news that his wife and children are not coming home. Very sad day.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a very sad story a mother & two very young children dead because some guy behind the steering wheel of a truck took his eyes off the road (probably texting). You see it all the time people texting while driving. True story I was driving my work vehicle when a FEDEX vehicle turned and struck the drivers side of my vehicle & the driver was texting while driving. I feel for the Husband / Father of these three victims. The material used to make cars now a days is very cheap (a lot of plastic & thin aluminum) even a minor accident will cause major damage to the vehicle & injury to the passengers / driver. I don't know the speed at time of impact but that little car with a rear end collision should not be so crushed / mangled. Cheaply made vehicle the makers should also be held accountable for producing and selling these vehicles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@harryo, in the UK all cars and lorries have to be NCAP safety rating it does not seem the Japan has the same rigorous standards (Euro Encap wiki)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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