crime

National Police Agency mulls revoking driver's licenses over road rage

22 Comments

The National Police Agency is considering revising traffic laws with the aim of revoking driver's licenses for dangerous driving, amid public concern fueled by several high-profile road-rage cases the past few years, a source familiar with the matter said.

A draft bill for harsher penalties on reckless drivers will be submitted to the ordinary Diet session early next year, the source said.

Currently, drivers are penalized for dangerous moves such as following closely behind another vehicle, repeatedly swerving between lanes or braking suddenly, but can keep their licenses unless they engage in constant violations of traffic laws.

Driver's licenses are not revoked for road rage unless it leads to death or injuries, while those who drive recklessly enough "to clearly have great possibility to cause danger" have their licenses suspended for 180 days at most under the current laws.

The agency is studying ways to revoke driver's licenses for recklessness behind the wheel, for example by revising penalty standards on drivers who warrant concern, or by introducing new penalties for dangerous driving.

Public concern over such driving mounted after a high-profile road-rage case in 2017, in which motorist Kazuho Ishibashi forced a car to stop in the passing lane on the Tomei Expressway where it was hit by a truck.

Of the victims in the car, Yoshihisa Hagiyama, 45, and his wife Yuka, 39, died and their daughters were injured. The Yokohama District Court late last year sentenced the 27-year-old Ishibashi, accused of causing the accident, to 18 years in prison.

Following the accident, the agency sent out directives to prefectural police departments in January last year to crack down on road safety violations and apply existing provisions more vigorously against dangerous drivers.

The number of traffic violations related to failure to maintain a safe driving distance doubled to about 13,000 last year.

Violent road-rage incidents also continued, including the death of a university student on a motorbike who was hit by an enraged driver near Osaka in July last year.

In August this year, motorist Fumio Miyazaki was arrested for alleged reckless driving and punching another driver on the Joban Expressway in Ibaraki Prefecture.

In September, a driver fired an air gun in a fit of rage on the Tomei Expressway in Aichi Prefecture. The man was arrested on suspicion of property damage.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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The rise in these incidents show that Japanese society is hardly the reserved and meek bunch that people portray them as. Japanese people are more than capable of being aggressive and in your face and start confrontations.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Why isn’t reckless and dangerous driving an automatic disqualification already?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Too much government control by just one Agency. It is best to be left to the courts and other legislation control vs the Police. Is Japan now a Police State? No their jobs are to enforce the laws of the country when necessary and getting into administration vs operations is just more control that leads back to the old days and eventually police brutality of the people like in the old days. Seems people are not or do not understand their constitutional rights in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The rise in these incidents

Have they actually risen? How much? What are the numbers on that?

show that Japanese society is hardly the reserved and meek bunch that people portray them as

Japanese society is reserved and the people avoid conflict.

You weren’t expecting Japanese society to be unlike any society that has ever existed, and not have any outliers, did you? Why would, out of every society ever, Japan be the only one with no outliers?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Driving in Japan is one of the scariest things ever.. Drove in the roads of India and Vietnam. But people mostly don't involve in physical spats.. Japanese pedestrians and cyclists are too. Scary to handle and very ill mannered..

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Reckless and abusive drivers are everywhere in Japan. This article is only addressing road rage, but there are far more dangerous and reckless drivers out there. I drive quite a lot and I’d guess at least a third (or more) drivers are using their phones while driving. Then, there are those cowboy tipper trucks who weave through traffic at speed like they are on a car racing circuit. Then, there are those other idiots who race through red lights and ignore pedestrian crossings. Then, there are those who use back streets as their personal short cut and fly along very narrow roads.and, let’s not forget the drink drivers either

All of the above carry hefty fines, but due to the passive policing policies drivers do it because they know they can get away with it. Policing is about educating drivers on safe road practices. It should not be about raising revenue, as is the case in Japan.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Do they actually mean a legal penalty. That's ground breaking.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The rise in these incidents show that Japanese society is hardly the reserved and meek bunch that people portray them as. Japanese people are more than capable of being aggressive and in your face and start confrontations.

Quite so, as I have been saying for years here, Japanese are no better nor no worse than anyone in any other country in the world.

There is something about getting behind the wheel of a vehicle that makes far too many think that THEY no longer have to follow the rules, and the roads are there for their own personal use and screw anyone else who gets in the way.

I dont want the cops to do more really, rather have the people put into practice what they learned after paying literally 200,000 yen and up at their driving schools!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Perhaps people should learn to drive better?

That would be a good start.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Man! About time!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There's always the side step for the privileged and connected via the Prosecutors office after arrest. This pattern; "Non prosecution, no reason has been given"

One of many burned into my memory, the husband and father still appealing for justice, outrage, appeals, aren't enough the judicial system is culturally rotten; https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190504/p2a/00m/0na/019000c

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good point, Do the Hustle. "Road rage" is but one aspect of the truly awful driving on sees in Japan. The quintessential bad driver is speeding while talking on his cell phone and does not stop for pedestrians but does blow his BMW's horn at them.

How do you define road rage? Much of this "rage" is often ordinary arrogance. The driver's car equals power and that power equals the right to terrify or belittle others. The person who will not stop for pedestrians is a perfect example.

Take their licenses aways. But give them a fair trial first.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Can't wait!!

Start revoking licenses and prosecuting people threatening to hit your car as intentional harm/murder and all this nonsense will stop within a week or so.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Reckless driving could just be someone with a bad reaction to meds. That old staple, a marital argument even. You punish it of course, and give the person a record so that any second time will be dealt with much more harshly. if it is habitual, someone prone to seizures etc., tell them they shouldn't be driving.

Road rage is something else completely. Running someone off the road or forcing them to slam on the brakes is more like attempted murder. It is completely intentional. That driver shouldn't be on the road at all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is this for real??? how about just enforcing the laws currently established ... start with stop sign/ red light runners .... school zone speed limit enforcement ... I noticed they’re including “ break checks” which is not usually a “road rage” issue more as a wake up call to the idiot riding on your rear bumper ... The bottom line is they always react when something bad happens .... then 2 weeks later, it’s the same old thing. And sending people tickets by mail does not wake up other drivers about their dangerous habits.... Seeing officers doing their basic job might just makes drivers change ....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Currently, drivers are penalized for dangerous moves such as following closely behind another vehicle..." No, they aren't. Ever.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good, don't forget elderly too..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

About time!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

National Police Agency mulls revoking driver's licenses

Mulls? The things we have seen on TV recently should mean automatic revocation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Agree they first need to re-educate drivers in Japan so that they actually slow down at pedestrian crossings regardless of anyone being in sight. Many drivers in Japan like speeding up to 'beat' the pedestrian so that he/she doesn't have to stop. For a country that has quite a strict process for getting a license that takes months, it's very strange. Also, it seems that going through traffic lights that have already turned red has basically become the norm here in Japan so a network of red light cameras would quickly stop this. Speed bumps and chicanes (one-way and/or two-way) would also be useful in many residential areas to slow drivers down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rgcivilian1:

The diet, through legislation, and the cabinet, through cabinet orders, have likely delegated power to the NPA to take care of things within their expertise (ie policing), and within the limits of said legislation and caninet orders. This is similar to how things are done in most countries (US, Canada, Sweden, etc).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am a daily urban cyclist here in Yokohama and the amount of times I have seen red light speeding cars/trucks is unbelievable. It is a daily scene for me, more or less. trucks or cars not giving enough space for cyclist is also a common place. I usually catch up with them and tend to leave a feedback in form of my middle finger and a warning about giving more room or not speed like a mad-man... They tend to apologize... but do they learn? i dont know...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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