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Car driven by 83-year-old woman hits, kills man and woman

22 Comments

A car driven by an 83-year-old woman hit and killed a man and woman in their 30s outside the parking lot of a hospital in Tachikawa, Tokyo, on Saturday afternoon.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 3 p.m. outside the National Disaster Medical Center hospital. Fuji TV reported that the elderly driver, Sachiko Uesu, had been visiting her husband at the hospital and was driving her car out of the parking lot.

When she slowed down to reach for coins to pay at the parking gate, Uesu apparently pressed the accelerator instead of the brake. Two 100-yen coins were found on the floor of the driver's seat.

Police said the car broke through the gate and hit a 39-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman who were walking on the sidewalk.

Bother victims sustained heavy injuries and died later in hospital, police said, adding that Uesu also suffered injuries.

Police said they will wait until Uesu recovers before questioning her further. They said she faces a possible charge of negligent driving resulting in death.

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22 Comments
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A tragic waste of two lives.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

She mistook the accelerator for the brake? What a surprise.

How many times have tragedies like this got to happen before common sense testing of faculties trumps this ceremony of respecting the elderly?

The ages of the couple killed makes me suspect there are a couple more orphans in japan tonight, because nobody dares suggest attending a lecture on safety - which is often napped through by our revered elders - is not a sufficient check on their often-depleted faculties?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

she faces a possible charge of negligent driving resulting in death.

But she's 83, so not a d@ng thing will happen to her

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's long past time legislation was introduced to stop the enfeebled elderly driving. Unfortunately, they think as well as they drive and thus comprise the LDP's voter base, so nothing is likely to be done.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

How many more of these unfortunate accidents are we going to have to bear, i know the elderly have a slower reaction time but if you apply the brakes and you keep moving it should only take a few seconds to take your foot off at least.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I heard she said that she kept pressing the brake but the car wouldn't slow down.

"brake"

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My father in law was recently diagnosed with dementia, so we persuaded him to turn his driving license in to the police.

I was surprised that the following system is not in place.

person is diagnosed with dementia by medical professional medical professional reports this to the police (standard paperwork) police visit person and take their license, make sure they and their family know they can't drive any more

It all seems voluntary at the moment, which is why these incidents keep happening.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I take my mother to this hospital once a month. If you're parked for over 30 minutes it asks for 100 yen even if you get stamped after showing your hospital receipt to the man at the door. I've always thought it cheap for them to charge even a hundred yen. If they want this money they should just charge an extra 100 yen on the medical bill. Or install cameras that takes a pic of your license plates like they do at some malls here and have them pay at a machine before you get in the car. Anyway, I've seen many people here fumbling with coins at this exit. Maybe they needed a big concrete block in front to prevent someone to just ram thru accidentally like this lady did. There's nothing to separate except for a few planters and flowers. Of course I feel so sorry for the two that were killed but I feel for her too. She's been visiting her hospitalized husband almost every day for several months. He's on his deathbed. I hope he did not get this news that she killed people. My mom is also 83 with a license but do not permit her to drive after I saw her almost hitting a bicycle about 6 months ago. She's started havin dementia recently too.

I wonder if this lady didn't have family to stop her from driving.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ben, no it is not. A drivers license is seen as a right, and at this point no one has the aurpthority to take away a right. After we took away MIL's keys, she went behind our backs and renewed her license with the help of a friend. She was in early/mid-stage Lewy Body Dementia ...she flunked the simulator, and drove not so well, but they gave her her license, then told her not to use it to drive. Fat chance! Why would they think that someone who is impaired will listen to their advice? She nagged us incessantly to return her car. It was quite stressful. I hope some day that they will appoint some one with the authority to take away licenses, because right now the family has to do it, alienating the affected individual.

I'm glad you were able to convince your FIL to relinquish his license. My FIL gave us his car keys and told us not to give them back even if he asked for them. That doesn't mean your FIL won't someday get the urge to drive. Should the situation arise, you can make the car inoperable by disconnecting the battery cable, or something like that that's easy to reverse when someone wants to use the vehicle.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It's a good idea to throw your car into park when you have to stop at those parking gates.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What a waste of life. Life can be short and taken at any minute.

Also, self-driving cars cannot arrive fast enough.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, a couple of deaths blamed on Pokemon Go out of MILLIONS of drivers and governments demand the game not be allowed in vehicles, but you have HUNDREDS of elderly causing accidents year-round, especially the "mistaken accelerator" and "wrong way on the expressway" stealing others' lives and not a thing is done about it. No doubt right about now this elderly woman is realizing she should not have been driving, that she is too old and can't react well and easily makes MAJOR mistakes, but what good does it do to realize that NOW? Especially when she will face no punishment for it? Two people in the prime of their lives were snuffed out, AGAIN, because of someone who should not have been allowed behind the wheel.

Oh, well, it may well be a right to have a license, and wrong to take it away; but we also have the right to live, and it is VERY wrong to have your life taken by something 100% preventable.

How many times will it take?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

There's an answer to this problem on the near horizon. It is called driver-less car technology. Hopefully, some sort of satisfactory compromise between the 'privilege' (not a right) to drive of elderly motorists and the safety of endangered pedestrians can be arrived at by legislative authorities through implementing driver-less car technology sometime soon.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

People, this is the second mews in days about an 80+ year old driver hitting and killing someone.

I'll say it again, very old people should not be driving.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People beyond 70, 75 at max. years should be prohibited from driving, period. This is insane how entitlement to a frail but luxuriours human life costs someone their own lives.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

「まあ、しょうがないね。。」will probably be the common internal response to this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

With the large amount of elderly drivers causing accidents, many of which result in deaths, it's pretty obvious the cognitive testing of these drivers is insufficient. They do a yearly test, but it only tests their driving skills. I'm not saying all senior drivers are a danger to the public, but it's obvious that many are. Unfortunately, for many, they have no other options than to drive. Many of the elderly drivers I've seen are so feeble I wonder how they even made it to the car. This problem is only going to worse as the population ages.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Japanese government is allowing these deaths to occur everyday by not weeding out the infirmed from driving. Over 65 driving should be on an exception basis, not a right as posters above maintain. You need to prove you can still drive, perhaps yearly driving tests for the aged would be best. These accidents are occurring daily. One day one of these aged drivers are going to mow down a line of kids. You all know it is coming. The Japanese government knows it as well. Just pray it is not one your kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Confirmation bias.

you have HUNDREDS of elderly causing accidents year-round

Actually you have thousands, tens of thousands of elderly causing accidents every year. Meanwhile younger drivers are causing hundreds of thousands of accidents.

According to this - http://www.jiko110-akb.com/diary/%E9%AB%98%E9%BD%A2%E9%81%8B%E8%BB%A2%E8%80%85%E3%81%AB%E3%82%88%E3%82%8B%E4%BA%8B%E6%95%85%E3%81%AF%E5%A2%97%E3%81%88%E3%81%9F%E3%81%AE%E3%81%8B%EF%BC%9F/

the proportion of drivers over 65 causing accidents is lower than the overall average and way lower than the proportion of young drivers who cause accidents.

The teenage accident rate is 2.98%.

The early 40s accident rate is 0.92% (the safest group).

The early 70s accident rate is 0.96%, late 70s and above, 1.12% (still below the overall average)

By all means keep a check on the old folks' physical and mental capabilities, but if the aim is to reduce traffic accidents it might be worth considering keeping anyone under the age of 30 off the roads.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The driver must have been distracted thinking of her husband's condition. It happened to me the other day. I almost hit another car in a crossing. I was so horrified to realize that I went through a red light because I was looking farther at the next traffic light, (which was green) missing to look at the traffic light in front of me. Thanks God my car stopped without hitting the other car in the middle of the crossing and there was no car coming from the right, otherwise I would have been killed! I don't think any driver, unless she or he is deranged would ran over a person or animal intentionally. So, sometimes it is the pedestrian's fault. I'm not saying that a mistake causing the deaths of two people is okay. What my experiences in the pasts proves that pedestrians are very negligent as well. People always have priority over motor vehicles, but sometimes this rule is abused by pedestrians and they seem to think that they're invincible! People seem not to think of the possibility of an accident or failure of the brakes when crossing roads or walking behind or in front of a vehicle, the engine of which is on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks for the data, Cleo. It is what I was suspecting.

May I also add, that it's easy for us city dwellers to say that no one over 70 or 75 should drive, but the reality of the countryside is that the country-side is full of 70+ people who are still farming and working, and looking after their aged parents, and there is no or very little public transport.

I like your idea, Ben, and Himajin, that a dementia diagnosis be reported to the police and family so that authorities rather than family are responsible for taking away the license.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Elderly people should be allowed to drive, but after say 65, should have more frequent re-licensing obligations, such as yearly.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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