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


A 90-year-old man who was driving the wrong way along an expressway was killed in a head-on collision with another car in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture, police said Friday.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 4:55 p.m. Thursday in a tunnel on the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway, Sankei Shimbun reported.

Police said Yoshiro Totake, from Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture, was driving the wrong way when he collided with a car driven by Masami Sugawara, 54, an office worker from Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture. Totake was killed in the crash, while Sugawara suffered an injury to his arm.

The tunnel is 1,610 meters in length. Before the collision occurred, other drivers reported seeing a car driving the wrong way.

Police are currently investigating how the deceased driver ended up in the wrong lane.

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Police are currently investigating how the deceased driver ended up in the wrong lane.

This isn't hard to figure out. The police allowed a 90 year old man to have a drivers license.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I find it curious how he ended up going the wrong way, seeing that the expressway has toll booths to enter and the directions are separated at least by a wall. I can only see him leaving a SS going the wrong direction.

There has to be a system in place to judge the mental capacity of the elderly before they issue out drivers' licenses. My elderly uncle decided he wasn't fit to drive anymore after a minor traffic accident, but we can't trust everyone to be as reasonable at all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There was another elderly driver doing the same thing a few months ago although, he didn't have an accident. I renewed my license a couple of weeks ago and sat through the mandatory and ridiculously childish lecture. I went through the police station this time and sat through the lecture at the local community hall, instead of going to the license center. It was only 30 minutes, in and out! The lecture consisted of some old fella with a PowerPoint presentation screaming at people to stop at red lights and to slow down when going passed schools. There was a special mention for drivers over 70 years old. They were told to be careful when driving (that's all!). The whole thing reminded me of a junior high school principal's lecture. Half of the lecture was just statistics from 2015. In Chiba last year there were 800 people killed in traffic accidents. Nearly 40% of road deaths were not wearing seat belts and nearly 20% of all deaths were drunk. It's pretty obvious their passive policing policy of giving out warnings and pocket tissues is not working. I'm not saying all old people should not be driving. Many of them are quite competent. However, there is also a large percentage who are driving that are not fit, mentally or physically, to be driving.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I second that. That the elderly can get their license renewed so easily without being put through an actual test to check their reflexes and driving ability is ridiculous and endangers not only them but more importantly all the other drivers on the road. What will it take for the fossilised govt. bureaucracy to finally do something about it for the sake of public safety? Since TIJ where doing anything slightly disadvantaging to the oldies who are key to winning any election here gets put on a backburner, I'm not holding my breath.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was actually in a car being driven by an 82 year old who did this once, entered a highway in the wrong direction.

The problem with such seniors is that when they see a divided highway in which only the two lanes going in one direction are visible to them ( due to a concrete wall in the median in my case) they think they are just entering a normal two way street. After that, it is basically a 50/50 chance that they will enter it going in the wrong direction.

Fortunately in my case I just gently pointed out that we were going the wrong way and since there thankfully wasn't any oncoming traffic he was able to pull over and correct the situation. That was the only time I ever drove anywhere with him, but it made me wonder how often this sort of thing must happen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yesterday and old girl 75 up turned into a one way street near here going the wrong way. I was happy to see a police bike pull her over. I watched as i waited for the lights to change and notices the officer was also telling her to put her seat belt on. I though oh hes gotchya now but after 1 minute of he saying sorry.... dun dun duuu he let her go. Making people accountable for there actions is the first step to improving Japan in so so many ways.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They do have tests for the elderly guys, including "senility tests", but they can't force them to give up their licenses upon renewal without any serious problems, just inadvertently pressure them to give up said licenses through said tests.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In some states in Australia, elderly drivers over 75 need to have a medical review every year in order to keep their licences. If they wants to drive heavy vehicles they need to take a practical driving assessment on top of the review. It is not uncommon to see news on TV about elderly people crashing their cars into road side shops.

While I believe we should not target elderly drivers, there are things which can be done to make the road safer for everyone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not another one! Up until now, I feel like having read or seen similar news a few times or more. I think it's high time to re-examine older drivers and their licenses.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are thousands and thousands of drivers out there who should not be. The regulations and enforcement of them is much too lax but if permission to drive on the roads was only permitted to those with real ability and responsibility the car industry would suffer. We know what the priority is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just thought of something, lets remember even though they are old they are still car consumers in a nation famous for its cars.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Mum did this last night visiting us here in the US form the UK! She just made to turn into the left lane instead of heading into the right hand lane and we all screamed. Made for some great Facebook fodder this morning! It was a quiet road and no traffic, but that doesnt make the story as entertaining.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The old are powerful. The young fewer and weaker. The old enjoy much rights while the young toil. Get used to it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Put more painted arrows on the road instead of up on posts well off the ground. It's all too easy to make mistakes here!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Every time a story like this appears I see the same old predictable calls for anyone aged over 60 to be banned from driving. By all means have fitness tests when older drivers renew their licenses, and gradually reduce the renewal interval so they can be checked more often. But if we're really serious about making the roads safer we should set the minimum license age at 30. And maybe include some form of testing for aggression, poor impulse control and over-confidence in the renewal process for younger drivers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

old farts again, when people get that operating multi ton vehicle after 70 can only be extreme exception and not the norm

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

There was a special mention for drivers over 70 years old. They were told to be careful when driving (that's all!). The whole thing reminded me of a junior high school principal's lecture. Half of the lecture was just statistics from 2015. In Chiba last year there were 800 people killed in traffic accidents

You should be glad there wasn't a test on the lecture because you would've failed miserably! Those over 70 years old have to take a driving test to renew a license and Chiba's traffic deaths last year was waaaay below 800.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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