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2 injured, 1 killed after 81-year-old driver loses control of car

25 Comments

One person was killed and two others injured on Wednesday when an 81-year-old man lost control of his car in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward. According to police, the car plowed into a group of three people and then rolled over onto its side before stopping.

The driver, identified as Hirohisa Akaike, told police that he accidentally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake as he came to a bend, at which point the vehicle mounted the sidewalk and hit the three pedestrians.

Police said that the victim who died was 67-year-old Miyo Iizuka. The other victims were a woman in her 40s who suffered a cerebral contusion following the incident, and a man in his 60s who sustained a serious injury to his leg. Akaike was also hospitalized after sustaining lung injuries.

Eyewitnesses told police that the car appeared to drift into the opposite lane facing oncoming traffic briefly, before swerving violently back into the correct lane at which point it began to gain speed and then crash.

© Compiled from news reports

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25 Comments
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Actually elders/pensioners are eligible for the "Silver Pass" which costs 1000yen/year and gives frree access to public transportation.

That's true - my MIL used to brag that she could go anywhere in Tokyo with her free pass. Lately though she says she tends to stay home more because the escalators in the train stations are stopped to save energy, she can't manage the stairs on her 85-year-old pins, and the lifts tend to be located in out-of-the-way corners that involve more walking. She is not such a happy granny these days.

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Moderator: Stay on topic please.

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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Actually elders/pensioners are eligible for the "Silver Pass" which costs 1000yen/year and gives frree access to public transportation.

The info is all out there people just need to inform themselves.

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If oldsters are being denied their independence due to their drivers licenses being revoked/taken away, then others need to step up and provide alternative transportation for them in addition to the public transit system. When your mind is still sound and you are still active, no matter the age, having your independence denied is one of the hardest changes to accept. It breaks your spirit in a way that little else can.

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I know old people are not the majority in accidents

I am not sure how you know that. I think I tried to find statistics on it and age was not available. Personally I think age causes more accidents here than drinking and driving. But then, so do a lot of things.

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I hear the same excuse (hitting the accelerator instead of the brake) in accidents, but I can't say I've ever done it myself in all my years of driving. I wonder if it's easier to do this on an automatic because of the placement of the pedals? I have always owned stick shift and have rarely driven automatics..

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wow their family members should be driving seniors citizens were they need to go.

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This happens so many times. One old fool drove straight through the front window of the 7-11 where I often go with my little girl to pick up some ice cream. killed two people.

Like the posters above said - whatever test these codgers are taking, it sure as shoot ain't strict enough. Somebody told me it involved sitting through a lecture, awake or not didn't matter. All a formality. I hope that isn't true, but I can't see any evidence it isn't.

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I remember a few incidents of elderly drivers in England hitting the accelerator instead of the brake and crashing through parking spaces into shop windows or ending up hanging over the walls of multi-storey car parks like something from The Italian Job. Seems it happens everywhere.

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The age of every driver involved in an accident should be reported. Then yearly tests of every age group that show up in the reports should be required.

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It totally makes sense if you are panicked and the only reaction that comes to you is pressing the pedal you are already pressing. Automatic and old people don´t mix, period.

Yeah, but he didn't say anything about why he drifted into the other lane. The witness' said

the car appeared to drift into the opposite lane facing oncoming traffic briefly, before swerving violently back into the correct lane at which point it began to gain speed and then crash.

He accelerated after drifting into the other lane then swerving. He just said he mistook the accelerator for the brake. That's why I said he isn't telling the whole truth.

Sounds more like he fell asleep, woke up, panicked, swerved, and then mixed up his pedals.

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Mr Dog

" Sounds like he's not telling the whole truth. If he only accidentally pressed the wrong pedal, why would it drift into oncoming traffic, then swerve, then speed up? "

It totally makes sense if you are panicked and the only reaction that comes to you is pressing the pedal you are already pressing. Automatic and old people don´t mix, period.

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marcelito:

" Right on Tahoochi...The guy obviously dozed off behind the wheel "

No. TV said he "mistook the accelerator for the brake", This is just so typical. Has happened so many times already. Automatic vehicles and geezers simply don´t mix. If you are un-coordinated and slow to correct your acction, this going to happen.

It is in the design. Automatic cars are inherently dangerous. Especially octogenerians should ONLY be allowed to drive stick shift cars.

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Sounds very much like he fell asleep at the wheel, and woke, over reacted with a left turn.

Tragic, just really tragic.

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MrDogJun. 16, 2011 - 11:19AM JST

Sounds like he's not telling the whole truth. If he only accidentally pressed the wrong pedal, why would it drift into oncoming traffic, then swerve, then speed up?

Here's how I understood the article:

As he was driving along the curve, he drifted into the on-coming lane (as 81 yr olds do sometimes), then swerved back into his lane while braking (braking is an automatic reaction when people panic) but mistaking the gas pedal for the brakes, thus, speeding up and crashing.

OR

As he approached the curve (which curves to the left), he tried to slow down, mistook the gas pedal for the brakes, which would cause him more than likely to accelerate into the on-coming lane, panics, swerves back into his lane while braking again but still mistaking the gas pedal for the brakes, thus, speeding up and crashing.

Just my take though.

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Actually in Holland the old people have to choice to drive a very very small car specially made for handicapped and old people. This car is too small to make serious damage and doesnt reach more than 60 km an hour. maybe even 50. They should introduce those here.

@timeon: didnt know there was a yearly test. thanks.

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People over 70 should have mandatory driving tests every year

Should be every 3 Months! This was in Tokyo. It is nowhere near as bad as what goes on in the countryside where you have 70% of the population over 70 years old and driving because they can't walk. It is like watching cattle navigate a grate! - However, you can't really blame the geriatrics. You should blame a society where they have no other options due to a lack of any community support. In Oz we call ambulances, geriatric taxis, but it is a good thing cos it keeps these kinds of incidents to a minimum.

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@Papigiulio. Perhaps this is age related, perhaps it isn't.

It could have been an error of judgment.

Young people cause just as many accidents as old people. Errors of judgment.

The only way to stop all road traffic fatalities is to take away all licenses, and ban all drivers, all cars, buses and trucks.

Sometimes we are so quick to ban this, ban that, and when it doesn't solve the problem, ban again.

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Papigiulio, they do have to take a test every year. But I don't know how strict is that test though.

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So sad.

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The driver, identified as Hirohisa Akaike, told police that he accidentally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake

People over 70 should have mandatory driving tests every year, and people over 80 shouldn't be driving.

Eyewitnesses told police that the car appeared to drift into the opposite lane facing oncoming traffic briefly, before swerving violently back into the correct lane at which point it began to gain speed and then crash.

Sounds like he's not telling the whole truth.

If he only accidentally pressed the wrong pedal, why would it drift into oncoming traffic, then swerve, then speed up?

Old people can do stuff like this and get away with it virtually scot-free. If it was a 25 year-old guy who did it he'd be lined up to do time.

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81 is too old to be driving... IMHO Japanese drivers are among the worst I've seen, especially old people and women. Thank Goodness no kids were around.

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Ive said it before and ill say it again. anybody above 70 needs to hand in their drivers license OR take a effin test every year. I know old people are not the majority in accidents but preventing is better than curing.

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