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80-year-old man, driving wrong way on expressway, killed in head-on collision

28 Comments

An 80-year-old man was killed Sunday when the light car he was driving the wrong way along the Kanetsu Expressway in Gunma Prefecture collided with an oncoming car.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 2:30 p.m. Police said Yutaka Tsukui was driving the wrong way at about 100 kilometers per hour on a two-lane stretch of the expressway near the Akagi Interchange in Shibukawa, Fuji TV reported. Dash cam footage from several vehicles in the left lane showed Tsukui’s car approach them from the front in the right lane and go by them before the accident.

After a few minutes, Tsukui’s car collided with another car carrying a man and a woman. Tsukui was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead due to severe head injuries. A 74-year-old man and his 72-year-old wife in the other car suffered light injuries.

Traffic was delayed for about three hours after the accident. Shortly before the accident, police said they had received calls from motorists saying that a car was driving the wrong way on the expressway.

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28 Comments
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Another one who didn't feel having free ramens instead of driving. Gotta pick, ramen or drive.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Nothing will change until government decide to do something about this matter...

May be there is a certain death toll to reach before anyone start do something.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I have noticed recently that the peripheral vision of seniors is nearly non-existent.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Head-on collision. Kei occupant killed. Standard vehicle occupants "suffered light injuries".

Lather, rinse, repeat.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Shocking. Nothing like this has never happened before.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hardly newsworthy anymore. It's just good that the innocent drivers of the other vehicle,though they are old too, didn't die. Please Japan put a stop to it, the elderly in this country will never give up their licenses

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Suicide?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wannabe kamikaze? Whatever, it was probably no accident.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No suicide. Unless you consider driving at 80 suicide. At least this oldster did not plow over some kids No driving over 65 in Japan will solve this problem.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Herein lays the problem with elderly drivers. They may very well pass a cognitive test, but they are not tested for diminished mental capacity and reasoning skills. My parents are both 80, but are both good drivers although, they will not drive at night. Last year they drove from central New South Wales and circumnavigated Tasmania in a month long trip. They took a six hour each way trip last week to see my uncle. It seems that many Japanese elders are empty shells who should not be driving at all.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It's one thing to get on the express way the wrong way, but to continue to drive the wrong way against traffic is insane. If you realized you made a mistake, don't make it worse by continuing to drive. Just stop, turn on the hazard lights, and wave someone down for help.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

At most interchanges it's very difficult to enter the wrong way. But at service areas, such as the one north of the accident site, a driver only has to ignore a couple of white arrows on the road and one small no-entry sign to be driving against the flow. Maybe put up more signs saying Stop, Wrong Way, Turn Round. Wouldn't cost that much.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Even for oldsters, it is almost impossible to get on expressway going in the wrong direction.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm surprised the offramp in Gunma wouldn't have a gate on it. There are some offramps in the city or burbs where it's a fixed fee wherever you get off, i.e., there is no toll gate when you leave the highway, but it's not so common in inaka. Not on a big through road like the Kan'etsu.

I agree with the comment saying that getting on the expressway the wrong way is one thing, and doing so and then driving at 100kph against the traffic is another.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

How can you be driving and not notice that EVERYONE else is going in the opposite direction, swerving to avoid you and waving or honking their horns at you? I feel sorry for the old man but glad that he didn't kill anyone else.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

How can you be driving and not notice that EVERYONE else is going in the opposite direction, swerving to avoid you and waving or honking their horns at you?

Dementia, perhaps.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As long as the requirements for license renewal is a joke like it is now, people will continue dying.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Had he been driving in Asia or USA before the tragedy. They drive on the right side of the road there. Perhaps he forgot , he was real old.

RIP.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

There are many fast running cars on expressway. So I can't understand the car runs wrong way on there. Also, I saw this movie on Twitter, it increases traffic accident like this in Japan. I think over 65 years do not have to drive a car.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

We accept and understand need for a minimum driving age - there’s really no good reason why there shouldn't be a maximum driving age as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There we go again. Most of the people here screaming about that people older then xx years shouldn't be allowed to drive... Do something and give them alternatives. Cars are necessary in Japan, so autonomous driving or affordable taxis in rural areas could help.

Also checking on older driver's ability to drive more frequently and thoroughly should help prevent such accidents. Just generally assuming every 80 year old is a bad driver is stupid. If we need to generalize then I would say every kei truck driver is a bad driver because they don't care about driving very much... just saying.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And again and again and...

PLEASE ban very old people from driving.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Just generally assuming every 80 year old is a bad driver is stupid. If we need to generalize then I would say every kei truck driver is a bad driver because they don't care about driving very much... just saying.

Except that there is a huge difference between just being a bad driver and losing the ability to be a safe driver. Bad drivers can improve their skill if they want to. Elderly drivers can't get those abilities back once they've lost them.

But as long as people continue to make excuses for them like 'oh younger drivers are just as dangerous, etc., etc., these incidents will continue to happen. With Japan's aging population, they will only get more frequent.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

From his neighbours, it sounds like he probably got on the highway by mistake and turned around at a service area rest stop. To go back, he then drove back the wrong way, possibly confusing the service area, where you can't just go back the other way, for a michi-no-eki, where you can. Turning around at a rest stop solves the mystery of how you can drive the wrong way down the Kan'etsu without passing a gate.

I wasn't really listening but the tv also said something about him having a bad foot.

It may be wrong to speculate, but this level of mistakes and poor judgement sounds like dementia to me. He had had another accident recently on his own and others had told him to hand in his license, but he refused.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Can we start with 80?

Turn 80 and your license is no longer good. You can still drive all the way up to 80.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

On a TV report I saw about it, they said it appeared as though the driver going the wrong way was hunched (slumped) over, which gave the impression there was a medical event behind this situation. His turn indicator light was blinking; the impression being that he had a sudden stroke or heaet attack while making a turn. Although, I still struggle to understand how a sudden heart attack or stroke could result in a slumped over driver going the wrong way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He was 80, which by itself requires vigilance but doesn't preclude him from driving. But, the irresponsible part was that he had had a stroke years before, paralyzing or limiting his right leg's mobility. When suggested that he stop driving he said he didn't want to cause others trouble. There's "trouble" like asking for a ride, and then there's "TROUBLE" when you kill yourself and possibly others. Very selfish of him.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If Japan took a SOLID stance against certain old people driving like they're doing with the new phone law, this might not be an issue. I've read too many accidents caused by older people recently. Be it stepping on the wrong pedal, driving the wrong way or just no recollection of what happened, Japan needs to look at this seriously. Innocent lives are being taken and destroyed in some cases.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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