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Woman, 3-year-old daughter killed, 8 others injured after car, garbage truck collide in Tokyo

52 Comments

A car collided with a garbage truck in Tokyo on Friday, killing a woman and her daughter and injuring eight pedestrians.

The accident occurred at around 12:25 p.m. near Higashi-Ikebukuro subway station in Toshima Ward, Fuji TV reported. Police said the car, driven by an 87-year-old man, hit a pedestrian first, then continued on for about 70 meters where it collided with the garbage truck, with both vehicles hitting people on a crossing. After that, the garbage truck flipped over onto its side.

Mana Matsunaga, 31, and her 3-year-old daughter Riko, who were on a bicycle, were taken to hospital where they died later Friday. The truck driver and five pedestrians suffered serious injuries.

A witness said that the car was speeding when it hit the first pedestrian.

Kyodo News reported that footage taken from the car's dash-cam recorder shows the vehicle was running at high speed for about 150 meters, according to the police. The driver told police that the car's accelerator was not able to return to its original position.

Editor's note: Story has been updated to report that the woman and her daughter, who had been in a coma, have died.

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52 Comments
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Was going to say how the hell did that happen? But read further and a 80yo driver so mystery solved. He might have been rushing to work.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Ban the oldster from driving permanently. He gets a free bus pass for being a pensioner anyway, right?

4 ( +11 / -7 )

After zooming in on the photo and seeing the extent of the damage, I'd say the elderly gent stomped on the accelerator instead of the brake.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

TIJ - is probably correct, gas instead of brake. Or maybe he was trying to run the light before the pedestrians got in the crosswalk, like that older woman in Chigasaki. But other than some out-of-pocket expenses, nothing will happen to him. Even if he is "banned from driving", who's to say he won't drive without a license like some in other JT news stories have.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I await the solution--banning drivers over 70 during the Olympics.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Banning people from driving, unless you are physically restraining them, will not prevent them from driving.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Annual tests for drivers over 80. Maybe even 75. It's the only fair solution.

And certainly if they're responsible for something like this, a permanent driving ban.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Banning them will decrease the amount of incidents but there are still many old folk who don't like to be pushed around and will still drive if they have the capability to. I guess their kids will have to take their keys away from them in order to stop it completely.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

From the photo it's 50km zone, or does that mean mow down people. My .japanese is not great, might be confused. I trust the government will change the law ,allowing 3 or four people to be hit? As he probably votes LDP. So it's actually all good. It's a clearly wide intersection now two people are in commas. That's not good.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Mandatory submission of license at 75. Period. Refusal equals incarceration. Problem solved.

Especially in Tokyo where owning a car let alone owning a car at 80 is completely unnecessary.

Hope he sees jail time if any succumb.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

He gets a free bus pass for being a pensioner anyway, right?

What, and take public transport like the rest of the riff-raff?!

sarcasm

1 ( +3 / -2 )

We shouldn’t say “ban” driving. We should consider “revoking their license”. This most definitely would prevent them from driving as it would be a criminal offense to be driving without a license.

Of course going through the official channels is a requirement and most likely a rigorous driving check to determine if their reflexes are up to par or not.

After my father had a stroke in his late 70s he still insisted he could drive. But my mother took his keys away and had to persevere with his frustration. Finally there was an opportunity for him to prove he could still drive by taking a specific test. He failed. Twice. So they revoked his license and told him that if he could pass the test then he would get it back. He couldn’t do it so gave up.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

again... ban everyone about 65 from operating vehicle already, especially in city

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

and no Cameron, ban is in caught behind the wheel and over 65 is a jail time

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

87 years old.... guess what the next few days of news will debate on. I’m all for autonomous cars!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

80 is pretty old to be driving, but that is not to say the elderly should not be driving. They do have cognitive tests twice a year. Unfortunately, there are many elderly who have no option than to drive.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The photograph shows the intersection lane markings with "50" (30mph) - this is too fast . . . should say instead "Slow" or "Stop" with "25 kph" max.  Also yellow flashing light when pedestrians are near.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ban elderly people from driving vehicle is not practical but these can be prevented with the technology available today. Pass the law that drivers over 70 years can only drive vehicles with automatic emergency breaking.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

He may or may not be competent to drive, all the above is pure speculation as we do not know the facts or the actual cause of the incident.

A blanket ban is the knee jerk reaction of those who do not think a situation through before reacting emotively. Such would be intrinsically unjust as it punishes the innocent as well as the guilty.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The accident location is near the Sunshine 60 Building on the main street between Ikebukuro Station and Gokokuji where it meets Shinobazu Dori and Otowa Dori. I’ve bicycled it countless times. 50 kph is not an unreasonable speed on this broad street with wide lanes. The problem seems to be an 80-year old unfit to drive.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Very sad, RIP to the mother and her daughter, my heart goes out to the family affected.

I would expect the Police to take away his licence now after this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ok...i get the argument that many 65 year olds can drive well...fair enough..but at 87 !! ....No way, especially in Tokyo where public transport is no problem, 80 should be a limit. Afterwards, free or heavily discouted train/bus/metro system. 87 year old has no business driving -accident waiting to happen, now an innocent 3 year old girl and her mum are gone because of this.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I don't know about you all, but I can't imagine driving in my 80s.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@eng... whatever

A blanket ban is the knee jerk reaction of those who do not think a situation through before reacting emotively. Such would be intrinsically unjust as it punishes the innocent as well as the guilty.

Not a knee-jerk reaction in my case. I have thought for a looong time that the over 75s or so should not be driving.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Ageism abounds in many comments above. Unlike racist comments, ageist comments invoke little critical thought or the outrage they deserve. Instead people tend to nod in agreement. Doesn't make it right.

Society still operates on a mindset from back in the day when many people didn't live much beyond 70, and 65 was considered very old. That was exacerbated by the (logically flawed) notion that "you can't trust anyone over 30" perpetuated by the very people some now want to banish from the road.

As the population has aged, the agencies responsible have not stepped up with programs for retesting and re-licensing drivers. The fact is only some people not all decline to the point where they should not be driving as they age. However, there's no overall system in place for determining who those people are.

Others--and I have first-hand knowledge of several--are competently operating a vehicle and enjoying that independence into their late 80s and even early 90s. It's entirely individual. I also know of instances where drivers in their 40s have had heart attacks while behind a wheel causing grave injury as well as damage. So are we to kick them off the streets as well?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

@Philly1,

Well said!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

the old eating the young in Japan.

the horror

to extinguish potential

and life

and family

for the sake of one's pride

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Old guy in my town just tonight, barrelling the wrong way down a one way street. Blocked his exit with my car until he turned around.

Anyone over 80 needs severe restrictions on driving!

RIP to the 3 lost!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

When I lived in Kameari, my ex got hit by a car riding a bike (with me) while IN a Crosswalk.

I'm lucky to have a daughter, much less an ex-wife.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Before we blame the driver, looks like a Prius... Wasn't there a possible recall on sticking accelerator pedals for Toyota's?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Addendum to previous post: there was a Prius recall in America

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/business/26toyota.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

actually, you not supposed to ride bike on crosswalk... you supposed to walk it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan especially Tokyo has among the best mass transit in the world if not the best transit in the world. My understanding is even the Northernmostcity, Wakkanai City, Hokkaido, Japan has a City Bus Network and also a train station. That being said Japan should have among the least if not the least vehicles on the road in the world per capita.

There should not even be a need to own a vehicle especially if one resides in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. With the amount of Mass Transit in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, the Tokyo Metropolitan area should be One Hundred Percent ("100%") vehicle free. Such characteristic would significantly increase the quality of life for everybody.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the news this morning, a person living in the same condo as the elderly man said that he was concerned about his driving skills after witnessing him driving dangerously in the parking garage. It's clear this man should not have been driving.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think there needs to be mandatory tests for the over 70s. I also think the demonisation of older people is disgusting.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

There are recent mandatory extra tests for people over 70, and stiffer ones from 75. Many pass, and many choose to hand back their licenses.

This guy seems to be one who slipped through the net, perhaps a paper driver who has rapidly deteriorated. (?)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 He gets a free bus pass for being a pensioner anyway, right?

No he gets a discounted pass, like all other seniors, even one's who dont have licenses. A driver's license is not a right, but a privileged and just because they turn them in they should not get something for free in return, unless all others do as well.

Mandatory submission of license at 75. Period. Refusal equals incarceration. Problem solved.

Really? Tell that to the family of a child who was killed a while back by an elderly driver who had no license but still was driving!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Translated as, the drivers foot was not able to return to it's original position. Another sad story

The driver told police that the car's accelerator was not able to return to its original position.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The car in the accident appears to be a Toyota Prius, which was known to have accelerator pedal issues the man described, and the manufacturer sent out a recall years ago to have them fixed. EVEN IF it was a faulty pedal, I'd argue that the driver is still at fault for not having the recall work done and should be held responsible. Of course if the recall work was done and the pedal was still faulty, that's a different story.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mother and child riding out on crossing, no helmets, seen it all the time, but pedestrian hit seventy metres before crossing, accelerator didn't return, but no mention of brakes, seems odd, in all the comments only one about "autonomous", non about driving safety aids, it does seem odd you would hit a pedestrian and continue at high speed into truck, if there wasn't something electrically wrong with the car, so yes investigate the car.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad story all around. Mostly sad for the victims. RIP. Also sad for the driver because any mechanical car failures mentioned above will be ignored because of his age. While I think driving for the elderly should be case by case with testing, I know how hard it is to get someone to stop driving when they shouldn't. We are trying to convince my father in-law to stop but he absolutely refuses. He is too embarrassed to carry his portable oxygen concentrator on the trains. So even when the family goes by train, he drives. Infuriating. We are powerless. My wife says she sought advice from the police but since he passed the drivers test, there is nothing they can do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@soylentEh

Great article, shame its not a hyperlink, but if you paste to google, yes they did have issues with that car, with an overlong pedal (3/4"), and a mat that can dislodge, just a little surprising and tragic it happened here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Looks like it might be a later model than the ones which were investigated back in 2009. I would lay 500 dollars on driver error, especially hearing the neighbor’s comments about dangerous driving in the parking garage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really hated garbage trucks and the drivers when I lived there. Do they still scream 'orei, orei, orei!' in the mornings in the alleys and streets there?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Poor woman and her child. Killed all because a stubborn old goat thought he was ok to drive. I'm all for banning all drivers over 70, non negotiable. They're an absolute menace

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They really do need to ban the elderly from Driving, but first implement better mass transit in areas where it is little to none, or create services that will help those that depend on their cars for daily needs. Easier said than done, I know, but it's a whole lot better to start working towards it than having to read about yet another elderly driver crashing his/her car and even Killing people in some cases. And not only is the loss of a Young mother and her daughter absolutely tragic, but also a travesty because there is no possible way the 87-year old can even begin to pay for what he's done.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I meant to add, one thing they seem to be trying to do is make it so inconvenient for the elderly to renew their licences that many are giving up. I was told yesterday by an elderly woman I know that she was going to take her driver's test to renew her licence that day, SEVEN months after making the appointment, and Don't they need to take tests yearly for renewal after a certain age?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This guy needs to be put in prison for the rest of his life. We need manditory annual license renewals from age 65, and they should include a driving test, a sight test and a test of reaction times.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I bet it is not a matter of pedal...he switched the automatic speed on and left his finger on + for higher speed without feeling it.

RIP to the victims, so horrible to leave that way. le

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the transport infrastructure is so good, then no need to discriminate against people on age, ban cars for everyone in the urban area as someone above suggested. This would vastly improve the air quality, reduce the impact on health and health provision, save vast amounts on imported fuel and help the balance of payments. Win win all round.

Testing may well be a solution, but there is a case (the more so if you feel that a licence is a privalage) for mandatory retesting every ten years throughout your driving life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This was probably a Type 2 right foot pedal error. (Vehicle may be in the forward or reverse mode. Driver needs to slow or stop. Driver attempts to move the right foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal. Right foot ends up on the gas pedal. Driver is convinced right foot is on the brake pedal and pushes harder. Crash. This error may occur over many seconds and significant distances. In most cases the driver will not initially understand what went wrong.) Happens to drivers of ALL ages and gender. It is the curse of the 'Killer' right foot braking method that we are all forced to use when braking an electric or automatic car. Responsible for 19 deaths each day in the US. NHTSA knows all about it but refuses to test it against the safer Left Foot Braking Method because 'real men brake with their right foot'!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

old people over 70 driving is disgusting, selfish and a menace

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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