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83-year-old woman driver dies after hitting 3 pedestrians

14 Comments

Police in Tottori said Sunday that an 83-year-old woman died after the car she was driving hit three pedestrians and then crashed into a wall.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 10:20 a.m. Saturday. TBS quoted police as saying that the woman was driving along a narrow road in a residential area when she somehow lost control of her vehicle and hit three women pedestrians. One of the pedestrians was carried along on the hood of the car for about 170 meters before falling off.

Police said the car then crashed into a wall in front of a house.

The woman was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead while the three pedestrians suffered serious injuries but their condition is not life-threatening, police said.

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14 Comments
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she somehow lost control of her vehicle

... the "somehow" here is really, really important. Did she die from injuries sustained in the crash, or was she, for example, having a stroke and her death, and the car crash, resulted from the stroke?

If that's the case then I'd say it is nobody's fault. A healthy 40 year old could have the same thing happen to them, and it is just pure bad lack.

If, on the other hand,. she lost control of the car because she had dementia and should never have been driving, then I'd say it is here fault.

The "somehow" really is critical.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

170 meters?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

83 years old...ugh..c'mon!

-7 ( +5 / -11 )

Maybe she died before hitting them, and then the wall.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I'm with Frungy, the how is everything.

Close to my home in my own country I saw an accident on a perfectly straight stretch of road & wondered how anyone could've crashed there, only to find out later it was an older man who'd had a heart attack. Lucky in his case he hadn't hit anyone tho

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Question people at that age being allowed to drive anything besides a wheelchair.Their faculties are in decline and sugar-coating it won't restore the diminishing marginal returns of age anyway.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I'm old, and I still love driving. But you know, at some point you really do need to hang it up. I'm thinking 75 or 80 is a good point at which to do so. Besides, unlike the US, public transportation in Japan has such a focus there's no reason to HAVE to drive yourself. Where was her family? They should have been taking care of stuff like providing her with transportation and making sure she was okay. Just tragic all the way around, I think. And sad.

And Cracaphat, not all of us old folks lose our facilities. Even so, we do get slower reaction times and declining vision and driving become problematical. But people of age should have to requalify for licenses yearly. We may have our facilities but, as I said, there really does come a time when you should know to hang it up.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

said it before and will say it again anyone beyond 70 should be banned from operating a vehicle and anyone beyond 60 should have monthly verification exams at their expense if they so keen to drive

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

bonestructureSep. 01, 2014 - 12:12AM JST Besides, unlike the US, public transportation in Japan has such a focus there's no reason to HAVE to drive yourself.

Not necessarily. If you'd only visited the major cities you'd be left with that impression, but Tottori is pretty rural and has very little in the way of public transport (the main railway line is pretty much useful for anything other than the coastline).

Where was her family? They should have been taking care of stuff like providing her with transportation and making sure she was okay. Just tragic all the way around, I think. And sad.

In Japan? Probably working in one of the bigger cities like Tokyo or Osaka. This is one of the realities of urbanisation in Japan that the Japanese government just can't grasp. If the son or daughter are working 400kms away there's nobody to drive Granny to the store.

And Cracaphat, not all of us old folks lose our facilities. Even so, we do get slower reaction times and declining vision and driving become problematical. But people of age should have to requalify for licenses yearly. We may have our facilities but, as I said, there really does come a time when you should know to hang it up.

That's easy to say, but if you live in a rural area and there's nobody around to buy your groceries for you then you have very few options. I think that rather than treating driving as the problem the local government should first implement strategies that minimise the need for senior citizens to drive, like:

  • Free delivery for shopping - Let seniors choose the stuff they want to order on a weekly basis and then deliver it to their homes for free (well, for free to them, the prefectural government could subsidise the delivery costs). This would minimise seniors' need to drive to go shopping.
  • Organise shuttle buses to pick people up and drop them off for community events like festivals
  • Subsidise the purchase of those 4-wheel drive carts that I've seen a lot of seniors using. They're ideal for short trips in and around the town, but if they bumped into you (or a wall) the worst you'd have is a nasty bruise.

Rather than simply saying to elderly people "You can't drive, and I don't care if that means you starve to death!!", instead try to examine why they drive and then minimise the need for it to a point where losing their license isn't a big deal and a lot of them opt to get rid of their cars on their own to avoid the car tax and other costs associated with owning a car in Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Maybe she died before hitting them, and then the wall.

And then drive down a narrow road 170 meters? Biting my tongue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Where was her family? "

Why would you assume she had a family? I know plenty of people her age who either had no kids or whose kids died before them. I also know a few that never married or who had spouses that died in WWII and they never remarried.

In my city if you give up your driving license the taxi companies will give you a card entitling you to a discount.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is no coincidence the three pedestrians are still alive. Because this once again proves how dynamic the current fleet of vehicles actually is. Blaming the driver or victims in accidents does nothing constructive. We have adopted this method of travel and as it integrates it will get better for all.

We all need to be mindful just how the death rate in Japan has fallen steadily since the 1980s and how dangerous it once was. But at the same time how important re humanising of roads and streets needs to be, even in rural areas.

When the fully automated vehicles become normal the death rate will fall further and incident like this will become very rare. But just as galvanizing in opinion.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Frungy Thanks for making some good points; you've saved me the effort of saying much the same thing.

Public transportation is far different out in the country than it is in the big cities. Also, typically it's still geared toward getting people to the train station--or the next town because the local train line went broke and was discontinued--rather than to shopping areas or health care facilities from the often-spread-out residential areas.

It's those rural areas that are really feeling the effect of the graying of society, too.

Many/most of the "solutions" or alternatives to driving cost money, and that's money that a lot of small towns and villages (and even some rather large rural towns/cities) just don't have to spend...often due in large part to that same graying: pensioners--and, no, they're not all hoarding huge piles of cash in the bank, regardless of what you might hear--don't provide as much tax revenue. As populations in rural communities inexorably decline, and the surviving residents' ages rise, the problem becomes worse.

The shuttle bus option for getting people to events, and just around town, is a good one for many places, but again it costs money. There is also a shortage of bus drivers currently, particularly young, fit ones. That's true even in more metropolitan areas where such drivers would probably prefer to live.

In some places, Seikyo/Co-op is a viable option for delivered food, but not in some of the remoter areas, and although the quality is generally good, the prices aren't exactly cheap. The quantities tend to be geared more to families than to older couples or individuals, too.

I personally would prefer to see the national government subsidizing alternatives to driving (or even those electric carts you mention, for those who can drive them), rather than the big exporters (including those of cars, ironically), with the much-touted Abenomics policies.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My grandmother died similarly. She was driving her car down a back street, apparently suffered a fatal heart attack and the car started up a telephone pole guy wire before the back wheels lost traction and the car stopped.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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