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Confused Japanese tourists trigger highway pursuit in Utah

207 Comments
By BRADY McCOMBS

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If a police car comes up behind you with lights and siren on you do not speed up in any country or language, you pull over to either let them past or to stop so they can ticket you, No where do you speed up and swerve all over the road.

I know that in Japan patrol cars cruise around with red lights flashing not pulling anyone over, quite bizarre really but hey it is a bizarre place sometimes. Japanese sometimes struggle with real life we do know that.

35 ( +43 / -8 )

I can just imagine them in the car upon seeing the flashing lights: "Eh? What's all this about? I wonder what they could possibly want? Why are they following us? Kowai!"

21 ( +27 / -7 )

“Red and blue lights are a pretty universal signal,” Horne said. “Regardless of nationality and language, when we put lights on, people pull over and stop.”

Yeah and clearly this policeman doesn't know much about Japanese people.

5 ( +15 / -11 )

Stand by for an avalanche of "what were these people doing" comments. Different strokes for different folks. Before putting in the boot, I would remind people that decisions are made on the spur of the moment. Just happy that didn't end up with fodder for the Japanese press. Something along the lines of "US Cops Blow Away Mother and Kid Wearing Doraimon T-shirt."

-14 ( +12 / -26 )

Turned out well enough considering the lengthy pursuit, number of laws broken and then not having licenses on them. (How did they rent the car?) I'm somewhat impressed that they rented a car to drive that far on their own since they seem to be novice travelers otherwise. I personally would never drive that far after a 12 hour flight, especially long, straight highways at night - to each his own, of course. Hope they enjoy the rest of their trip!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I'm just glad the family has a lifelong memory of a truly unique experience. What a memory! And before all you negative commentators throw in your two cents' worth, you'd grow up laughing about it, too.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

I always thought that was the stupidest thing in Japan , police driving with their with their lights on for no apparent reason. This is why the couple were confused because lights are meaningless here.

22 ( +25 / -3 )

Realizing they were dealing with language and cultural barriers, and not a drunken driver or fugitive, officers changed their strategy, Horne said. One officer consoled the boy and reunited him with his parents

Authorities don’t plan to pursue charges. Horne said the couple didn’t have Japanese driver’s licenses with them.

So these people broke the law, led the police on a high-speed chase, and weren't even legally licensed to drive - and the police took care of them? And comforted their child? And aren't planning on pressing charges? I wonder what confused the Japanese folks more...the mysterious flashing lights, or the fact that the police actually supported and assisted foreigners who were confused and out of their element?

19 ( +27 / -8 )

I blame the stupid J-police for driving around with their lights flashing, makes it hard to know if they ever really want one to pull over. Which I did in my early driving days haha after pulling over 3-4times & then have them blow past me I have learned to mostly IGNORE cops with flashing lights

That's what I suspect these tourists thought at the start of this, glad on tires were hurt & trigger fingers didn't get to ichy!

19 ( +22 / -3 )

Horne said the couple didn’t have Japanese driver’s licenses with them.

In order to rent a car from a US agency, they would have needed international driver's licenses anyway. I asked about this during a recent US visit and the agent told me his company would not rent a car to foreign license holders.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

"Stand by for an avalanche of "what were these people doing" comments. Different strokes for different folks."

Well, swerving from lane to lane is just bad driving in any culture. And 37 mph on a major highway probably zoned for twice that speed at 1 am was another red flag.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Excellent story. Cars are like Japanese Kryptonite.....

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I asked about this during a recent US visit and the agent told me his company would not rent a car to foreign license holders.

Generally, when one rents a car with an international license, they are also required to present the original license from the country of origin. In Japan, we are told to keep both together when we use the international license oversea. The couple would have had to have both in order to rent a car unless the rental agency messed up.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

So these people broke the law, led the police on a high-speed chase, and weren't even legally licensed to drive - and the police took care of them? And comforted their child? And aren't planning on pressing charges?

Let's not be vindictive. The car hire company is negligent for not checking the credentials of the drivers.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Sorry, but despite the language barrier she should have gotten the idea and pulled over. I'm just glad no one was hurt in the end.

16 ( +24 / -8 )

About a dozen law enforcement officers were involved in some way.

Well, I guess we're not hearing all the details here. I do remember how over the top local police seemed back home (Australia). Seriously, make no sudden moves until the situation is defused. They're not all bad but there are some I'd really prefer not armed (go that impression from their fellow officers too).

@GW

If the "stupid" police here want an obviously superior intellectual like yourself to stop, they will turn their siren on and ask you to stop over their PA system.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Welcome to the Land of the Free

-9 ( +10 / -19 )

So the cops succeeded in frightening the crap out of a family trying to find their way through Utah late at night. Way to "Serve and Protect"!

-31 ( +12 / -42 )

A.N. Other: Let's not be vindictive. The car hire company is negligent for not checking the credentials of the drivers.

You misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that the drivers weren't credentialed. From this story, I'm assuming that they had the proper licenses (meaning, Japanese + international), but weren't carrying the Japanese one with them, as is required. When I read this, I was assuming they had left their Japanese license back in a hotel room/friend's house. I'm guessing the car rental company did it correctly, but the tourists weren't aware that they are supposed to carry both licenses with them while driving. Nothing vindictive about it - simply comparing the police's kind and thoughtful treatment of confused foreigners to how the Japanese police frequently handle things.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why would you speed up if you hear a siren?

16 ( +20 / -4 )

I understand being a little lax with people who don't speak the language, but it was very generous for the officers to not give a little more trouble to them for driving without a license (like others said, the international license is just a paper to allow you to use your foreign license abroad, you must carry both) and check out why they were initial swerving. Most likely they were falling asleep at the wheel. Perhaps they can be let off for the high speed chase for lack of understanding, but this driver also should not be allowed to drive in another counrty if they do not know basic rules of the road (you can read them in any language)

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I mean come on...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

One officer consoled the boy and reunited him with his parents as others worked to get a Japanese-speaking officer on the phone.

Patrolmen took the family to a motel and wished them safe travels.

When I started reading this article, I feared this would be yet another case of gratuitous U.S. law enforcement paramilitary-style overkill -- there are just too many stories of "shoot first, ask questions later" encounters coming out of America these days.

Anyway, I am very relieved to hear that the officers practiced empathy in dealing with these tourists who, granted, should have used minimal common sense in this situation.

Like the some above posters, the dim-witted behavior on the part of the tourists was at least in part a consequence of the ubiquity of Japanese police who drive constantly with their reds and blues flashing for no apparent reason. People here rarely pull over in those cases, even when an ambulance is trying to get through.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

They should be deported! Why would you speed up if you hear a siren? . This is going to fuel the already existing stereotype of hopeless Asian women drivers in the US...LOL

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

"Horne said the couple didn’t have Japanese driver’s licenses with them."

Why wasn't the driver ticketed? A foreigner can't rent a car in the US without a valid D/L from their home country together with an International Drivers' License, both of which must be in possession when driving.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Poor family. I hope they can come to see the funny side and laugh about it later.

I'm like GW. Trying to pull over when followed by a police car with flashing lights, wondering what the heck I've done.

As for cops going overboard ,,, a friend of mine was faced with half a dozen cops, photographed, told not to use his phone and taken to the police station recently - all because his gaijin card had expired. (Even though as a PR there was no prob).

But the story ended well for the couple. Hope they have a nice holiday after that. Maybe they could go on a late show.

Nice of the cops to console the boy. At least they're doing their job.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

“Red and blue lights are a pretty universal signal,” Horne said. “Regardless of nationality and language, when we put lights on, people pull over and stop.”

... except in Japan where the J-cops have their lights on almost all the time as part of the "visible policing" philosophy here.

gogogoFeb. 26, 2014 - 11:59AM JST Why would you speed up if you hear a siren?

In Japan the cops normally sound their siren when they want someone to move out of their way. The sirens on all emergency vehicles serve this function, to notify traffic ahead of them to move out of the way because they're going to deal with an emergency. That's why the driver probably speeded up, because the more cops and sirens they saw the more they thought, "Oh my goodness, there's a big emergency going on, and I'm in the way!".

the couple’s car was spotted going just 37 mph (60 kph) and swerving between lanes

Again, entirely explicable if you've driven in Japan. 60kph is the maximum speed anywhere except the expressways, so they must have felt like they were going fast, and the swerving was probably to avoid frustrated U.S. drivers who were driving up their tail because the U.S. drivers felt that these guys were going too slowly on a highway.

Still, I can't really fault the cops. They saw something that looked strange, they tried to investigate and it looked like the people were trying to flee the scene. Just a huge misunderstanding.

What I don't get is the massive negativity towards the Japanese from people who live in Japan and should understand the background here and why the driver reacted the way she did.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

I wonder what would happen if I tried to evade the police in Japan and had no license to drive.

Guaranteed you wouldn't be shown the same level of understanding and/or compassion. Rules are rules in Japan!

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Excuse me but I find this story realy funny. I can't stop laughing! LOL. It's basic animal instinct. If you feel being threatened you should run for your life.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I can easily see this happening. Once a Japanese friend arrived at my house in California under almost the same circumstances with a Patrol Car chasing him with the lights flashing. After that he we'll understood to pull over when followed by a patrol car with lights flashing. I have met many Japanese women here in the U.S. And most are afraid to drive on the freeway. I am glad the police used discretion.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Some people shouldn't be allowed to leave their home country.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

Hmm, I don't think that you can blame stupid and incompetent on language barriers.

Typical overreaction and escalation from U.S. law enforcement (initially at least). I'm just surprised they did not try to lock the family up for life for questioning their authoritah.

From the story, I kind of wonder whether that woman was actually licensed to drive in Japan or any country. Or more likely, she was what they like to call a "paypaa duraibaa," who got her license at 18 after paying her 3000 dollars to some school, and never touched a steering wheel since. They probably thought, "hey, we will drive across Utah in the middle of the night--there won't be anyone on the road."

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

In Japan the cops normally sound their siren when they want someone to move out of their way.

Yes, and then the person usually pulls over. This family drove for 10 kilometers with the police following them.

Again, entirely explicable if you've driven in Japan. 60kph is the maximum speed anywhere except the expressways,

This family were on a highway. The posted limit would have been around 65 or about 110 kph.

What I don't get is the massive negativity towards the Japanese from people who live in Japan and should understand the background here and why the driver reacted the way she did.

When Japanese police use the siren and lights, you are supposed to pull over, not keep going. It was the family's error in this case, not the police.

I'm glad no one was hurt, but one should at least have a bit of an idea of the traffic rules and customs of the country they are planning on driving in. Ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country. The police were really nice not to file charges.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

@frungy

I understand your points, but U.S. freeways do not tend to be crowded at 1am in the morning. I have not seen this freeway, but a quick search shows it has 2-lanes in each direction, and most U.S. freeways have a very large shoulder on each side to allow cars to pull completely off the lane in case of breakdown or to make way for emergency vehicles.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The woman said she had no idea what she was supposed to do when the patrolman put on his lights and siren, so she sped up to get out of the way.

You do the same fricken thing you do in Japan ....STOP!!! How did she even get a license??

8 ( +10 / -2 )

My brother is a police officer in New Zealand where Japanese drivers often rent cars and travel around the country. He said they are know by the police as unpredictable and dangerous so they often keep an eye out for them because they frequently cause accidents. When my brother was here last October he couldn't believe how erratic drivers here are. On a return trip from Kusatsu there was a car swerving wildly between lanes with no cop in site - he just laughed incredulously.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

"Horne said the couple didn’t have Japanese driver’s licenses with them." - Did they have ANY license??! WTF?!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I kinda like that Japanese patrol cars keep their lights on all the time - makes 'em easy to spot.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@Frungy

the couple’s car was spotted going just 37 mph (60 kph) and swerving between lanes Again, entirely explicable if you've driven in Japan. 60kph is the maximum speed anywhere except the expressways, so they must have felt like they were going fast, and the swerving was probably to avoid frustrated U.S. drivers who were driving up their tail because the U.S. drivers felt that these guys were going too slowly on a highway.

Yes, and everyone really goes the speed limit. I rarely see anyone get even close to the limit. Here, 60kph = 90kph, 80kph = 110kph etc.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

LagunaFEB. 26, 2014 - 12:31PM JST I kinda like that Japanese patrol cars keep their lights on all the time - makes 'em easy to spot.

Unless you intend to break the law, why is that a good thing?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

A combination of stereotypes. Incredibly gormless heel dragging "sugoi!" Japanese female tourist, over zealous Yankee Doodle police approach and culture difference. You have to feel sorry for the kid with such parents but that is becoming the norm these days, especially in Japan and back in the U.S. All is well that ends well.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

" Typical overreaction and escalation from U.S. law enforcement (initially at least). I'm just surprised they did not try to lock the family up for life for questioning their authoritah."

Absolutely. Welcome to the Police States of Amerika.

-11 ( +8 / -19 )

slumdogFeb. 26, 2014 - 12:20PM JST

In Japan the cops normally sound their siren when they want someone to move out of their way.

Yes, and then the person usually pulls over. This family drove for 10 kilometers with the police following them.

No, they don't. Do you even drive in Japan? When the Japanese police sound their siren it means "move out of my way". When they want you to stop they use the loudspeaker.

Again, entirely explicable if you've driven in Japan. 60kph is the maximum speed anywhere except the expressways,

This family were on a highway. The posted limit would have been around 65 or about 110 kph.

And they were used to driving at about 60kph, so that's what they drove. The speed LIMIT is exactly that, the highest speed you can drive, not the speed you MUST drive.

What I don't get is the massive negativity towards the Japanese from people who live in Japan and should understand the background here and why the driver reacted the way she did.

When Japanese police use the siren and lights, you are supposed to pull over, not keep going. It was the family's error in this case, not the police.

No, this isn't the case. You're clearly not a driver in Japan. You're mistaken. The lights mean nothing in Japan apart from "Look, we're cops and if you need help we're visible", and the siren means, "I'm on my way to an emergency, make way!!". The Japanese cops use a loudspeaker to tell you to pull over.

I'm glad no one was hurt, but one should at least have a bit of an idea of the traffic rules and customs of the country they are planning on driving in. Ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country. The police were really nice not to file charges.

I find this ironic considering that you are mouthing off here, but clearly have no idea of the traffic rules and customs in Japan. Hypocrisy much?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Bilderberg, actuall cannot agree. i have forgotten to renew my licence here and been pulled over for making an illegal right turn (my english language navi told me to) and was treated quite kindly. no fine and no harsh words. 3 hours in a koban and police station and then let of with a warning to go an renew licence following monday....... not all local 'satsu are awful.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@Frungy

And they were used to driving at about 60kph, so that's what they drove. The speed LIMIT is exactly that, the highest speed you can drive, not the speed you MUST drive.

Very few drivers in Japan go at or below the speed limit, the vast majority go 10 to 20kph over the limit (in other words breaking the speed-limit law is endemic). You are perhaps not as familiar with Japanese driver habits as you like to think you are?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

I have visited the US Southwest many times. This interstate is in the desert in the middle of nowhere. The nearest population center is St. George about 10 miles away. Believe me, at 1 am there is virtually no traffic. A few trucks, a few locals and even fewer tourists are on the road at that time.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Poor lady! I would have done a little more than put her up in a hotel!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

When the Japanese police sound their siren it means "move out of my way".

You are legally supposed to pull over when police or emergency vehicles sound their alarms. If you are not doing so, you are committing a moving violation.

When the Japanese police sound their siren it means "move out of my way".

Do you ever get tired of being mistaken?

http://www.police.pref.osaka.jp/01sogo/qa/sonota/04/answer/chiiki06_1.html

交通取締りを行うときに、パトカーのサイレンを鳴らします。

And they were used to driving at about 60kph, so that's what they drove. The speed LIMIT is exactly that, the highest speed you can drive, not the speed you MUST drive.

I believe there are also minimum speed limits as well. Regardless, this family also went over the speed limit while not stopping.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you are going to go to a foreign country and drive a car you should be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the traffic laws and what to do if you see a police car, fire truck, or ambulance. This woman probably panicked, but she is still at fault. I'm very glad no one was hurt, and it seems like these officers did a fine job, considering.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Excellent story. Cars are like Japanese Kryptonite.....

I have always said that the way some Japnese drive here in Japan, they wouldn't dare drive that way in the States. I guess i was wrong. From reading the article on how she was weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate, you can see that every day driving here in Japan.

Glad to see that it all turned out fine. At least the cops after they figured out what the situation was with the language/cultural differences were willing to help, not like some people have said about the J-cops.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

When there are speed limits clearly posted (I'm guessing 55mph) and you're only going 37mph, that's a problem. It's not a cultural or language problem, it's a driving problem. This lady should never have gotten into a car to begin with.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

When there are speed limits clearly posted (I'm guessing 55mph) and you're only going 37mph, that's a problem. It's not a cultural or language problem

I'm wondering here, did she see '55' and assume it was kilometres, not miles? She wouldn't be the first person to make that mistake.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

This family were on a highway. The posted limit would have been around 65

Unaware she was covering insufficient yardage to satisfy the local yeomanry, she continued many furlongs, nay several leagues before her horseless carriage was incapacitated.

She should be thrown in the stocks for her diabolical kilometric ways.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Patrolmen took the family to a motel and wished them safe travels.

Wow. You mean they weren't immediately assumed to be criminals because they were foreigners and subjected to isolation and non-stop interrogation until they "voluntarily" signed a confession? Shoddy police work if I have ever seen it.

-6 ( +4 / -9 )

simply comparing the police's kind and thoughtful treatment of confused foreigners to how the Japanese police frequently handle things

Never experienced anything less than courteous behaviour from the police in Japan. They've been very forgiving if anything.

Had police do everything but draw guns on me back home, although they were clearly threatening to do that too. They only have to think you might be up to something to provoke this kind of behaviour.

My worst crime in both countries has been minor traffic offences, and one time walking home from work and being mistaken for somebody who apparently robbed a store (in Australia). Pulling out my payslip to prove my identity resulted in some twenty-something policeman slinking around his car towards me with his hand on his holster. Fortunately his senior partner was there and from the look on his face, I guess Junior was in for a lecture or worse later on.

The difference in reaction is astounding. Much, much prefer the police here than back home. Like I say, they're not all bad in Australia, I even have a step brother who is one, and my impression is that the smarter ones are quite good at reading situations fairly accurately, unfortunately not 100& though.

Like I say, I have no idea why a dozen police would be required. The driver does sound like she has a screw loose and would be apprehended in Japan and anywhere else for this.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Horne said the couple didn’t have Japanese driver’s licenses with them.

How did they not get arrested? If I did this, I would have been dragged in in handcuffs, or told to ditch the car and walk home.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

These Japanese drivers SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING in the USA, pulling this crap in the middle of no where is bad enough, and they pull this crap in big and small cities all over California too!!!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@ReformedBasher

Judging from your name and your experience you are a good friend of the police everywhere you go. :)

Japanese police are polite and reasonable but lack good policing skills and courage. The police I teach English to tell me of hiding and avoiding crimes is a serious problem for J-cops and they are trying to 'toughen them up' with new training.

If you want the most rounded police force you'd probably have to go to New Zealand which has the lowest police corruption in the world and some of friendliest and highly trained and equipped in the world.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Smith

Sorry, but despite the language barrier she should have gotten the idea and pulled over. I'm just glad no one was hurt in the end.

Agreed.

@SenseNotSoCommon

Novel way to make fun of the imperial system!

@Mr. Daly

I disagree. I think a certain responsibility lies with local law enforcement to assist foreign drivers understand rules and equipment unique to their area.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

She [the driver] panicked. I really think it is that simple.

Drivers who lack confidence in their ability to drive seem to be quite common in Japan, with the exception of truck drivers (most of whom have an I.Q. lower than the number of wheels on their truck).

Indeed, doesn't one of the questions in the driving test specifically ask whether drivers have confidence in their driving, and it is marked incorrect if answered "yes"? (I would say that if you don't have confidence in your driving, you should stay off the damn road).

My biggest criticism of Japanese drivers is that they drive reactively, not proactively. When taking driving lessons in my home country, my instructor often asked me to identify potential hazards on the road while I was driving. With experience, you can get good enough to predict things before they happen - but here in Japan drivers always seem to slip on the inevitable banana skin.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Unreal. The lady needs to stop driving forever. The cops were really kind.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@letsberealistic

Good to hear the NZ police are like that. (I'm not in trouble with the law as much as it may sound!)

Not sure if toughening up is required for traffic offences. I rode my scooter to the local station to report a stolen number plate (yes, I could have walked etc but I had to go to work, and I only noticed it was gone as I walked out my door to go).

The policeman I talked to reminded me that I was technically breaking the law but understood my situation, and with a smile, advised me to avoid their traffic section on the way out. I'd say that was pretty fair. Used high strength glue for my new number plate, not a problem thereafter.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Why werent they arrested ? Isnt erratic behaviour on the road and driving without license is illegal ? Were the cops just happy they got some fun out of it ? I reckon should have locked up the driver for 24 hours for a lesson.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I asked about this during a recent US visit and the agent told me his company would not rent a car to foreign license holders.

It varies by state. For example, California will let you rent and drive on a j-license.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I believe there are also minimum speed limits as well. Regardless, this family also went over the speed limit while not stopping.

On highways and freeways, yes there is minimum speed limit. Its usually 10-20mph lower than the maximum speed limit.

In Utah the max speed limit in rural areas is 75-80mph urban freeways: 65mph ..so doing 37mph in a 65 or 75 would be uber slow. I would have suspected that someone was stoned.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

could have gotten themselves killed!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Many, not all Japanese people are horrible when it comes emergency situations or any situation for that matter that is outside the normal everyday routine. I'm glad the Police officers didn't pursue any charges because it honestly looked like just plain ignorance of laws, language and cultural differences.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It varies by state. For example, California will let you rent and drive on a j-license

I think you need an IDL accompanied with it nowadays. I

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let me guess: the cops were played by John Candy and Dan Ackryod. Because this scenario is out of a zany 1980s-90s comedy movie.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I'm glad the Police officers didn't pursue any charges because it honestly looked like just plain ignorance of laws, language and cultural differences.

disagreed, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Her license should be revoked immediately.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

man...these people can really go anywhere without speaking english. it scares the hell out of me just imagining myself lost in translation in a strange land.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Because this scenario is out of a zany 1980s-90s comedy movie.

Indeed. It reminds me of that movie 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles'!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Curious, I just checked and these people needed to have both their Japanese licenses and international licenses to drive in Utah according to this site:

http://www.testquestionsandanswers.com/drivers-license/utah.html

International Drivers Visitors with a valid out-of-state or out-of-country license may drive in Utah months if you have an International Driver's License along with a valid driver's license issued by your home country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Police just doing their job against DUI problem. Glad no casualty including possibly other drivers. (That's why several police cars are needed, just in case of DUI, to set up tire spikes and get other drivers on the road out of the way from possible crash.) If planning to drive in foreign country, at least familiarize with the basic rules, including the minimum speed on US highways is 40 mph.

Wonder how the J-family got back on their way? Did they get their forgotten license and drive away with another rental car? Or take public transportation? Without a license with them, the police wouldn't let them get back in a car.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It really is basic common sense and responsibility to educate yourself a little on the traffic rules of the country you are travelling to if you plan on getting a rental car and driving around. Especially if you have other passengers ( husband and a 7 year old child ) in the car and as a driver are responsible for their safety. This story should make headline news here and hopefully serve as a reminder to all would be tourist /drivers to educate themselves a bit on the road rules of their destination country.

P.S. Good point above about the driver possibly mistaking the miles per hour limit with kilometres.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I sometimes see Japanese police cars driving casually down the street with their lights flashing for no immediate reason. They just drive around with them on permanently.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm not convinced by the kilometers/miles theory. Anyone who travels to the US and rents a car there should -- at minimum -- know that difference. Also, if the speed limit sign says 60, then you must make sure that your car's speedometer reads less than that when you drive, regardless of kilometers/miles units.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese can be pretty rotten drivers. Usually famous for driving without headlights. These people were stupid and ignorant. I would have charged them. Driving a car is not something a fool should do, lucky nobody was hurt by these idiots.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

These jokers got off easily and, let's face it, for being Japanese. Same situation with the same Mexican setup, for example, would not have ended with the police cuddling this family and waving them off at the police station. I know Japanese are not the best drivers in the world but you do not speed up when you are followed by a police car with lights and sirens on. A kid would understand this.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Hi there everyone.

One important detail that I think most of you don't realize: in Japan, if there's an emergency vehicle behind you with its sirens on, you don't generally pull over. It's not required. You're only required to get out of its way. This is most likely why the woman sped up.

That doesn't QUITE explain why she continued driving for so long. But I'm sure she was pretty scared and confused.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I sometimes see Japanese police cars driving casually down the street with their lights flashing for no immediate reason.

Yes, they are on patrol. They are easy to find with their lights on if they are needed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The police I teach English to tell me of hiding and avoiding crimes is a serious problem for J-cops and they are trying to 'toughen them up' with new training.

I think I read something recently about one version of the police training. Something about large amounts of hamburgers having to be eaten quickly or something like that.

I'm not convinced by the kilometers/miles theory

Exactly. As you wrote, you just match what the sign says with what your speedometer says.

They just panicked. Lucky they had professional and kind police officers. There was a case recently where police in the US kept punching a suspect and in court claimed he was resisting arrest. It later came to be that there was one more police car on the scene that also had a dash cam with a front view that showed the man not resisting at all, but being pummeled by the police. If not for that other camera, the man was sure to be convicted and sentenced to five years in jail.

Again, I am glad all worked out well, but I hope this family are more careful when traveling abroad.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@chooky88

Japanese can be pretty rotten drivers. Usually famous for driving without headlights. These people were stupid and ignorant. I would have charged them. Driving a car is not something a fool should do, lucky nobody was hurt by these idiots.

Or driving with their high beams on, in the city areas. But I agree, I would have charged them as well. I wouldn't go so far as saying they are stupid, more like ignorant because this country, you just don't see too many cops on the road watching traffic. Having said that, It's just common sense, when the police tell you to stop, then you stop, don't move an inch. The cop could charge you on that alone and then add all the other charges to that.... As a few people already stated, Japanese police usually patrol with their flashing lights on, this can be very confusing for a lot of foreigners, used to scare me to death, always thought when a cop was behind me, he was going to pull me over, but it's still a bit annoying at times. Who knows what was in this ladies head. Maybe she freaked out. Regardless, the rules are rules. I also think in Japan you don't see too many cops on the roads, compared to the states, so drivers are a lot more cautious because of a larger police presence compared to Japan, where I have seen people drive in unimaginable ways that will literally make your jaw drop. Make up your own rules as you go along.

@The sherif

I'm not convinced by the kilometers/miles theory. Anyone who travels to the US and rents a car there should -- at minimum -- know that difference. Also, if the speed limit sign says 60, then you must make sure that your car's speedometer reads less than that when you drive, regardless of kilometers/miles units.

I'm not buying it either, but most cars in the US have readings in both Mph and Kph.

The woman said she had no idea what she was supposed to do when the patrolman put on his lights and siren, so she sped up to get out of the way. She kept apologizing for crashing the car, not realizing they ran over tire spikes, Horne said. Patrolmen took the family to a motel and wished them safe travels.

Seems like the police did everything by the book. So what's the problem? When people like you talk like that, shows me, you probably never really spent some time in the US, because if you did, you know what you said, is not true. And for the record, MOST police will use a taser gun first before using their fire arm, which should be used as a last resort. I have been to 28 countries and they are ALL overrated. It depends on your preference of what you want to see and do. If you personally, don't want to go to the US, there are millions that do, it wouldn't hurt our tourism. As for crime, you have crime everywhere, US police do not at ever single turn put a gun in your face, that is an outright lie. If you follow the basic common sense formula that when a police officer tells you to stop, you stop, simple as that. NOT hard to understand. And they didn't press charges, she could've went to jail, in most cases without a doubt, but the cops gave her a break. Seems like she got a very good deal for doing something so stupid.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Seriously?! Are traffic laws that different in Japan, where she thought it was actually OK to speed up to 120pkh when she saw the police lights?? We don't need another Asian adding to the bad driving stereotype. Good job for the local police force identifying the problem quickly and not over reacting. There's so many stories of police misjudging a scene, that this could have ended really badly. I'm glad everyone was OK.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm not convinced by the kilometers/miles theory.

Not so much a theory, more a musing....like I said, it wouldn't be the first time.

http://edition.cnn.com/TECH/space/9909/30/mars.metric/

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Give me a break. Japanese cops don't mean anything when they just drive around with the lights on, but even in Japan when they have the siren on and are screaming over the PA it means to get the hell out of the way or stop and pull over.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But even the line you quoted, (While on the way to) "交通取締り" (traffic duties) clearly shows that the purpose of the siren is NOT to get the car right in front of you to stop, but rather to clear the way while ON THE WAY TO somewhere else.

"行うときに"

This means 'when performing', not 'when going'. It means when performing a traffic stop or controlling traffic. I am aware the siren is used for other things. but you must pull over when a police vehicle or emergency vehicle puts on their siren. You should not keep driving.

These people should have known this and, if you are driving in Japan, you should to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It varies by state. For example, California will let you rent and drive on a j-license.

Who is downvoting this? Do I really need to cite the statute?

NONRESIDENT DRIVER

(a) The following persons may operate a motor vehicle in this state without obtaining a driver’s license under this code:

(1) A nonresident over the age of 18 years having in his or her immediate possession a valid driver’s license issued by a foreign jurisdiction of which he or she is a resident, except as provided in Section 12505.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Is it US police procedure to carry out every operation with a gun in their hand? Even if the driver HAD been drunk would a gun have been appropriate? Do they assume everyone they stop is armed?

Anyway, glad this all ended peacefully... although it must have been frightening. Not only is the steering wheel on the wrong side, but so are the lanes on the road. That would have been confusing for a start.

She herself was silly for over-reacting the way she did, some research before going on holiday might have helped - certainly it's what I did the first time I went to Japan.

Shame on the rental company for not asking for a licence as proof the woman could drive. No Japanese licence, let alone an international one.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Frungy,

According to Japanese law, a police vehicle with its siren on is an emergency vehicle and cars must pull over.

I contend that this is not the proper reaction to hearing a siren in Japan, and that you should merely move out of the fast lane (or if there is no fast lane then move over onto the shoulder of the road) to allow the emergency vehicle to pass, and that there is NO obligation to stop.

Do you further contend that it is fine to continue driving on even if said police car continues to follow you into the shoulder or the next lane you enter in? No, of course not. You would stop. A police car continuing to follow you with its sirens on would tell anyone with common sense that they should stop, be they on a highway or a regular road.

Can you read Japanese?

I loved the irony of this comment. Thank you. Just to repeat, the above was 「行う」 not 「行く」

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Considering what happened to that poor woman in D.C. last year, I can certainly understand anyone's terror of U.S. authorities. That said, she is lucky she did not meet the same fate.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Did they get to Bryce Canyon? Perhaps JT should send a crew & report the zany antics on a daily basis!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At the very least, these naive tourists should be made poster children for common sense preparation before going overseas! Just barely enough time for Tokyo 2020?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've been thinking about this some more. I think they were faking it that they didn't know English, perhaps as a way of eliciting sympathy from the cops. I've never met a party of Japanese who traveled in the US by motor car that didn't have at least one member who could speak some English.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Had mixed feelings at first when reading the first part of the article. The family's misunderstanding of the roads can be confusing. Sounds reasonable. However, they did not have a Japanese driver's license with them; did not stop after seeing and hearing the police warnings; and claim a lack of English understanding. Begs the question: How did they get / rent the car? The police actions appear reasonable as well. Yet, not pursuing chargers could led to a double standard.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Land of the Flee; I see where the confusion lies.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

That made my day! I loled so hard at this story!!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At least there was a happy ending and they didn't get shot up. As often seems to happen over there.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Is it US police procedure to carry out every operation with a gun in their hand? Even if the driver HAD been drunk would a gun have been appropriate? Do they assume everyone they stop is armed?

When a car pulls over immediately, NO. When a person flees and drives several miles at a high speed and swerving. YES. Once this happens, they are resisting arrest, which makes them seem more suspicious than simply breaking traffic laws. It is protection until they know they are not in harm.

and Japanese police shot at a car just the other day http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/policeman-fires-at-escaping-suspect-in-tokyo

1 ( +3 / -2 )

stupidity and lack of common sense is not a crime but can certainly cause one. no excuse to this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Or another happy ending, that these Japanese idiot fools did not get themselves killed or innocent people in the USA killed for being way too stupid for their own good! By the way, Japanese NEVER go to Utah! What in the heck where they doing driving in that part of the USA??

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So the police dropped them at a motel in the desert. Now what are they going to do??

I cannot see them getting back in the car again and they don't speak English so I'm wondering how they're ever going to get home. Ditch the car and take a Greyhound bus back to Salt Lake City? I suspect Bryce Canyon is now off the itinerary.

Reminds me of the wonderful movie "Bagdad Cafe" where a German woman ditches her husband during a drive across the desert and ends up moving into an old motel run by a black woman.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Chubbinessfan

You were lucky. I was pulled over for making an illegal U-turn (which I thought it was semi-legal; I was on a bike and pulled over to the left side of the road after the turn and then proceeded when the light changed. Anyway, my wife riding on the back told me to. That must make it pretty much legal, right?). The sharp young lad in the police box discovered my license had expired which I hadn't been aware of.

I had to wait for 3 detectives to show up in a squad car and was then driven sandwiched between 2 cops in the back seat to the main police station where I was held in a small room in the back for six hours. Then I had to make an appointment with the prosecutor's office and show up for court, another 3-4 hours affair. The upshot was a six thousand yen fine for the U-turn.

re. the international driver's license and renting a car in the US: I rented a car in Utah with my Japanese license and no international permit which I discovered I had left behind. Same trip I also rented a car in NY under the same circumstances. Not problem (but I've been very careful to make sure I have my international permit with me since then).

AND: a side story—I was driving though a small town in Massachusetts in a rental car, this time had the permit with me. I was pulled over by a patrol car with two officers in it. The officer who came to the window said, "Residents have been complaining of people driving through here too fast." Okay. He didn't say I was driving too fast. He demanded my license and when I handed over my Japanese license and international permit he said, "No, you license." I told him that was my license. He went back to the patrol car with my documents and several minutes later he came back and handed my stuff back. "I had to show my partner; he's never seen one of these."

Okay, glad to oblige.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

slumdogFeb. 26, 2014 - 06:04PM JST According to Japanese law, a police vehicle with its siren on is an emergency vehicle and cars must pull over.

Cite the law, because there is no such law.

I loved the irony of this comment. Thank you. Just to repeat, the above was 「行う」 not 「行く」

And I just love how, when I caught you red-handed selectively quoting from the site, continue to gloss over it as if you did nothing wrong. Go back, re-read the ENTIRE quote and then meditate on the fact that you have been conclusively proven wrong. Right now you're just trying to shift the focus of the discussion away from the fact that you're wrong, you've been proven wrong by your own quote, and you're unable to admit that you are dead wrong.

Go away and troll elsewhere.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I think it turned out ok for everyone. Police had no idea what they were dealing with as they are pursuing a car that does not stop that speeds up and slows down, wondering if it was a vehicle with fugitives or what ever, The family in the car not knowing what to do and then faced with guns on them.. I could imagine...... They did get stopped safety and then all was figured out and as we seen nothing was done or no one charged with anything after finding out the misunderstandings and then getting driven to a local motel and then wished them safe travels. I believe both were pretty much shaken up at some point. But I am wondering , after they were taken to the motel.. then what??? How did they proceed onwards??? I want to know the rest of the story.. Hope they made it to Bryce Canyon, I just experienced that last summer with my Taiwanese friend. It is far away out in no where land!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cite the law, because there is no such law.

Seriously? You actually think it is okay to continue driving in front of an emergency vehicle with its siren on? Perhaps you are the one that should cite this law you claim exists. I am tired of looking stuff up only to have you pretend it does not exist.

And I just love how, when I caught you red-handed selectively quoting from the site, continue to gloss over it as if you did nothing wrong.

It clearly says they use the siren to do traffic stops. You said they did not. The rest of the sentence did not matter. I have no problem with you mentioning it as it has nothing to do with what the article is about nor what I wrote about and it certainly does not contradict it.

It clearly said they use the siren when performing traffic stops. You said they did not use it for that and that they only used it for when they want people to get out fo the way. You obviously are mistaken as the Osaka police clearly state that they use the siren for performing traffic stops. Why are you ignoring this? You do see what it means now, don't you? So, what is your problem?

This family should have stopped their car. Anyone that is not panicked would have the common sense to stop unless they were trying to escape.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

PandabelleFEB. 26, 2014 - 03:48PM JST I sometimes see Japanese police cars driving casually down the street with their lights flashing for no immediate reason. Yes, they are on patrol. They are easy to find with their lights on if they are needed.

Why would they be 'needed'? Everyone carries a phone with them these days don't they? I asked my police English students about this they said leaving the lights on is largely because so many people break the road laws that they don't want the hassle of having to stop people all the time for minor infringements. By leaving the lights on people suddenly take care not to break laws and the cops don't have to do anything.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@thunder

Is it US police procedure to carry out every operation with a gun in their hand? Even if the driver HAD been drunk would a gun have been appropriate? Do they assume everyone they stop is armed?

They do carry a firearm, but most will resort to using the taser gun first and if there is an escalation and all else FAILS and it gets to the point that the bad guy is overpowering the officer, he/she has every right to use deadly force to save his/her life, colleague or any other innocent person that may be involved in the situation.

She herself was silly for over-reacting the way she did, some research before going on holiday might have helped - certainly it's what I did the first time I went to Japan.

Again, had she just stopped, REGARDLESS once she heard over the PA or saw the lights, this could've been avoided.

At least there was a happy ending and they didn't get shot up. As often seems to happen over there.

People do not get constantly shot up by the police for minor infractions, if so, I would have been filled with lead 8x over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Of course, she was also driving on "the other side of the road" - and as a typically confused female driver (have you people ever witnessed a young, newly licensed Japanese woman trying to parallel park - I watched one in Shibuya for about 40 minutes while my wife went shopping AND came back - same girl, same car, still trying to parallel park - amazing.

Anyway - I can easily understand how this silly woman panicked, drove all over the place, drove THROUGH the tire shredders, etc ad infinitum - I'm just glad she wasn't driving on the wrong side of the highway also.

The Utah police are to be commended - as I'm sure the kid was terrified. J-Police are famous for their compassion when it comes to normal people doing silly things, with small children.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese tourist: laughing stock of the world. I fear for my students every time they decide to visit the USA.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

In order to rent a car from a US agency, they would have needed international driver's licenses anyway. I asked about this during a recent US visit and the agent told me his company would not rent a car to foreign license holders.

All depends on the company and who at the company you're talking to. My trips to the US haven't required an international drivers license - my home country's (English language) license was sufficient...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it US police procedure to carry out every operation with a gun in their hand? Even if the driver HAD been drunk would a gun have been appropriate? Do they assume everyone they stop is armed?

If it's a high speed car chase, yes. They will approach with guns drawn. It's standard procedure.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

seriously Japanese and cars dont mix. it like common sense and rational thinking suddenly disappear.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cite the law, because there is no such law.

Against my better judgement, but for the benefit of others reading in Japan, I will cite the law that tells people to pull over when an emergency vehicle (which according to Japanese traffic laws includes police vehicles in the process of performing duties such as going to a scene or doing a traffic stop, etc).

第40条 2 前項以外の場所において、緊急自動車が接近してきたときは、車両は、道路の左側に寄つて、これに進路を譲らなければならない

Article 40 -2 When an emergency vehicle approaches, other vehicles must pull over to the left side and must cede the road to the emergency vehicle.

Now, we know because of my link that police cars can and do use their sirens when performing traffic stops. We also know people should pull over when emergency vehicles approach. We also know that if a police car keeps following you all over a highway that you should pull over.

There is no explanation for this but that the woman obviously panicked. However, it has nothing to do with some international misunderstanding about what it means when a police car is behind you with lights and a siren following you for 10 kilometers while you weave all over the road. This woman should have pulled over and then, if the police car followed her when she pulled over, she should have stopped.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Stupidness does not excuse what happened. If you are not up to date on how things run get of the road. There is far to much of this "I didn't know" "It's not like this in Japan" going around for what boils down to common sence!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Nessie - The statue you cited states "immediate possession".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No license (how were they able to rent the car?), failure to recognize basic traffic laws (how did they get a J-license?), showing they were unable to default their own traffic laws (again how did these people get a J license?!?!?)....the family got off way too light.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

More than likely the family was driving without a driver's license and panicked. Lt. Horne handled the situation professionally. His officers had time to lay down tire spikes before the car stopped. Surely, the family had been speeding for some time. I can understand the confusion of the roads but come on. Police cars and sirens are recognized internationally. Hopefully Lt. Horne treats all citizens and tourists in his jurisdiction fairly in the future (i.e., No double-standard).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Would she have done that if it happened in Japan? I think not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Common sense failure, compounded by panic no doubt.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

slumdogFeb. 26, 2014 - 09:25PM JST

Against my better judgement, but for the benefit of others reading in Japan, I will cite the law that tells people to pull over when an emergency vehicle (which according to Japanese traffic laws includes police vehicles in the process of performing duties such as going to a scene or doing a traffic stop, etc).

第40条 2 前項以外の場所において、緊急自動車が接近してきたときは、車両は、道路の左側に寄つて、これに進路を譲らなければならない

Article 40 -2 When an emergency vehicle approaches, other vehicles must pull over to the left side and must cede the road to the emergency vehicle.

Your translation is incorrect.

Article 40-2 With the exception of the locations in the preceding paragraph, when emergency vehicles approach regular vehicles must move to the left-hand side of the road. The regular vehicle cannot refuse to do this, and must cede right of way to the emergency vehicle.

The words "pull over" are not used, nor is there anything about stopping. This law merely means that you must move to the left and allow emergency vehicles to pass. There is not a word about stopping, and while it is possible that under certain circumstances you would need to stop because there's no space to continue it is not inherent.

Thus your use of the word, "pull over", which is a synonym for stopping, is an inappropriate and incorrect translation of the law.

Now, we know because of my link that police cars can and do use their sirens when performing traffic stops. We also know people should pull over when emergency vehicles approach. We also know that if a police car keeps following you all over a highway that you should pull over.

There's nothing in the law about sirens, there's nothing in the law about pulling over for emergency vehicles (moving over, giving right of way, sure. Pulling over, definitely not).

You've mistranslated, just as you mistranslated the Osaka police homepage, which should read: When serious circumstances that require a rapid response occur, (then) when going to the scene of the crime at high speed, possibly when doing traffic control, the patrol car's siren will be sounded.

Again the Osaka police homepage makes no reference to pulling over, it merely states that the siren may be sounded when the police car is en route to an emergency.

You're mistaken slumdog.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is a classic story. Illustrates some definite differences between the U.S. and Japan.

The tourists in this story are definitely pretty hapless, but I also can't help feel bad for them. In Japan, if you want to visit any sort of national park or famous site, it's usually on a well-trod route filled with trains, buses, pamphlets, and cute signs. In America, if you want to just hop in your car and randomly drive from California to some national park in Utah with no prior experience of American roadways...God help you.

Love it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This story makes no sense. Police in Japan use lights and sirens. Why they were confused?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It kind of demonstrates the mentality of a lot of Japanese. If you ignore something for long enough then hopefully it will go away.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Tornadoes28Feb. 27, 2014 - 01:24AM JST This story makes no sense. Police in Japan use lights and sirens. Why they were confused?

Because, as I've been explaining, the lights and sirens in Japan merely mean "move out of my way, I'm going to deal with an emergency". Fire trucks have lights and sirens, so do ambulances, and so do police cars. In every case they mean precisely the same thing, that other cars should get out of their way so they can go and do their job.

Police cars in Japan are fitted with a loudspeaker, and if they want you to pull over they'll come up behind you, flash the lights, sound the siren to get your attention, and then use the loudspeaker to ask you to pull over at your earliest convenience in a place where you will not obstruct traffic.

The idea that a car driving behind you with siren blaring means you should pull over just isn't true in Japan. Japan has a lot of narrow roads with rice paddies or buildings on either side and no shoulder, which means that it might be some distance before you can move out of the police car's way. People pull over as far left as they can, hope that people on the other side of the road are doing the same, and in most cases the police pass by going in-between (I've seen this happen a few times). Stopping under these circumstances is counter-productive since all you do is block the road.

The idea that blue lights in your rear-view mirror means you need to pull over is true in most countries, but not all countries. In some countries you also have the option of not stopping and rather driving to the nearest police station being escorted by the police car following you.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Knox HarringtonFeb. 26, 2014 - 03:39PM JST

These jokers got off easily and, let's face it, for being Japanese.

Got off easily? Really? I think they got what they deserved: A reality check and an experience only fit for nightmares. The police knew this (that they have probably learned their lesson after being chased and treated like armed fugitives), and that's why they let them off without charges. I think the police made a good decision and I applaud them for that.

With that said, this couple definitely should have checked the traffic rules and laws of a foreign country before they ever left Japan. It's just ignorant not to.

On the other hand, regarding driver's license, even though the law states that you must carry your home country license along with your IDL, I believe this is pointless in the case of Japan. A Japanese driver's license does not have a drop of English on it. Even the DOB is in "Heisei" (this is a separate issue altogether regarding the stubborn J-Government), so any rental car company or police officer who looks at it for a few seconds will pretty much come to the conclusion that it is completely useless. Besides, you can't obtain an IDL without a valid driver's license in your home country anyway.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Kilo or mile? They rented the car in Calif. Rental cars are usually Japanese brand cars and all cars in USA does not use kilo. but miles. Left side handle and roads, you drive left side of center lines.

Many tourists use northern side of USA to go to East Coast cities. Mt Rushmore, etc, they visit.

Each State is different, Some has shoot and ask later. It is obvious Utah HWy Patrol are not trained like somewhere else. They used their brain to treat this confused Japanese people. Many visitors to Nevada visit Salt Lake /city in Utah and Arizona is south of Utah. Utah has many historic site, too.

USA does not have shinkansen so Japanese people rent a car to travel.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Was there any need for the cops to wave guns at the driver?

US gun culture is obscene. It's just sick.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan has a lot of narrow roads with rice paddies or buildings on either side and no shoulder, which means that it might be some distance before you can move out of the police car's way. Your arguments are just as moronic as the two idiot parents who put their child's life at risk.

-1 ( +2 / -4 )

In her defense, we know that's it's also possible that she'd been told that there are highway robbers who'd do the same - drive up behind a rental car and flash colored lights in the hope that she'd pull over, at which point she'd be robbed or worse...

Lovely World we live within.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@taiko666FEB. 27, 2014 - 02:21AM JST Was there any need for the cops to wave guns at the driver?

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Yes, they never know if the driver or passenger(s) shoot at them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I can not believe they did not have a drivers license on them. If the police did not recognize a Japanese drivers license that could be true... However the power of GOOGLE search would probably have a few examples.

12 police officers... No prior military??.. None of them had ever been to Japan to see police almost always have their lights on while driving???

Last statement... Almost everywhere people pull over for sirens... Even if it is just to get out of the way by slowing and moving over.....yes, not all of the story is here????

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Toshiko... Almost all car in US now have both measurements on the line unless it is a digital read out and then you can change to whatever you like.

Shinkansen ---- I'm with you!!! I do wish we had one of them !!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Seriously speaking, I also recall even been advised to check (although not in the US) what/who is Flashing lights in my rear view mirror, and if in doubt, to put the pedal to the floor and get to the nearest law enforcement station...

The US is in Comparison to Japan not a Safe Country, so yes I can understand the Drivers response.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@taiko

Was there any need for the cops to wave guns at the driver? US gun culture is obscene. It's just sick.

In this situation, yes. It's NOT the gun that's the problem, the problem was the failure of the woman to stop and flee the scene, big NO, NO! As I said before, the cops have no idea in that kind of a situation as to what they are dealing with. The situation gets tense, adrenaline is flowing, many officers have been shot, stabbed, even run over. They are not going to take a chance and shouldn't have to. Thank God, because of the calm and collective sense of the cops that cool heads prevailed. Having your gun in a ready defensive positions doesn't mean you will fire your weapon. It means you are on high alert and if need be, fire a warning shot first, defensive and lastly deadly if it comes to that. There are many ways this could have played out, given the circumstances.

@toshiko

Kilo or mile? They rented the car in Calif. Rental cars are usually Japanese brand cars and all cars in USA does not use kilo. but miles. Left side handle and roads, you drive left side of center lines.

Again, almost all cars have both kilo and mile indicator in the speedometer in the US.

Each State is different, Some has shoot and ask later.

Really? And which state is that?

It is obvious Utah HWy Patrol are not trained like somewhere else.

We're talking about Utah, now....come on, dude.

They used their brain to treat this confused Japanese people.

While the confused woman didn't.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@mmwkdw

Flashing lights in my rear view mirror, and if in doubt, to put the pedal to the floor and get to the nearest law enforcement station

When driving in the US, I would seriously recommend that you pull over when you see flashing lights in your rear view mirror.

If in doubt I recommend you SLOW DOWN AND PUT ON YOUR HAZARD LIGHTS and drive to a well-lite area like a gas station.

Putting "the pedal to the floor" when flashing lights are behind you is NOT a good idea.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@bass4funk Each State is different, Some has shoot and ask later. Really? And which state is that?

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Read LVRJ newspaper or visit Las Vegas for just one week. LV METRO cops shooting suspect stories are not rare. LV is in Nevada. We have different kind of LEA and different kind of history. A little while ago, a cop shot isomeone in a shopping center and cops thought burglar and shot him. So many stories that LV cop shootings do not go on nationall news. When Cosa Nostra was dominating, FBI OCI teams never trusted METRO.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Which I did in my early driving days haha after pulling over 3-4times & then have them blow past me I have learned to mostly IGNORE cops with flashing lights.

It's a good thing most people aren't like you. I would guess the number of times I've pulled over for a police car with lights on is 20 - 30 times since I've had my license. Of those, only four times actually resulted in the flashing lights actually having been meant for me. I don't know the specific laws in Japan, but in the United States INCLUDING Utah, the rules of the road state that you ALWAYS pull over to let an emergency vehicle of any kind go by. It's a basic tenet of driving in the U.S.

The article mentions that the couple didn't have their Japanese driver's licenses, but didn't say anything about whether they had an international drivers permit on them. If they did, then they were still in violation because they have to keep their home country driver's license with an international driver's permit at all times. Talk about your epic fail!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I feel bad for the tourist and her family. The event must have been traumatizing.

I hope they understand the aggressive actions of the Hwy Patrol officers.

The officers probably assumed that the driver was drunk or in the process of a crime as she was driving erratically at 1 am.

I hope that rest of her family trip is stress free.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We are human, not fish. We make mistakes.

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Thus your use of the word, "pull over", which is a synonym for stopping, is an inappropriate and incorrect translation of the law.

Really?

From the article:

“Regardless of nationality and language, when we put lights on, people pull over and stop.”

'Pull over' means move to the side of the road. Stop means to stop. That is what they mean in my posts and that is what they mean in Japanese, too. In the case of the US, you would pull over to the right. Here in Japan, you pull over to the left, as I wrote above.

Because, as I've been explaining, the lights and sirens in Japan merely mean "move out of my way, I'm going to deal with an emergency".

As I have explained, with the use of an Osaka Prefectural Police link, that that is not the only thing the siren mean or used for. It also also used to perform traffic stops. You pull over when you hear the siren and if you are the target of the traffic stop, the police will pull over behind you. You keep insisting siren are not used for traffic stops when you know now that they are.

The idea that a car driving behind you with siren blaring means you should pull over just isn't true in Japan.

You should pull over whenever emergency vehicles are behind you. Of course, if it is not safe to do so, you do it in a safe place. But, you must pull over.

Again the Osaka police homepage makes no reference to pulling over, it merely states that the siren may be sounded when the police car is en route to an emergency.

The Osaka site is clear that a siren is also used when performing a traffic stop.

あるいは交通取締りを行うときに、パトカーのサイレンを鳴らします。

"or when performing traffic stops, a patrol car will sound its siren."

Again, I do not get your confusion and that of anyone else confused. The police in Japan do use their sirens when performing traffic stops. Why do you keep saying they don't when the Osaka police website says they do? Are you suggesting you know better than the police themselves? The fact is you should pull over when a police car or other emergency vehicle approaches. The woman continued driving for 10 kilometers with a police car flashing its lights and sounding its siren. In no country, including Japan, is this an appropriate response.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They were in Utah near Arizona, I15 is between Calif. to Utah running through Las Vegas Strip, a little miles of north east of Arizona toward Salt Lake City. So, my guess is they had sight seeing of Sin City's 24 hours neon. Maybe they ate food in Vegas? 1 a.m. So this is my guess. Hope they enjoy their trip.

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There has been a lot of speculation that this Japanese woman would have never known what a siren meant. That 取り締まり does not mean "traffic stop" (it does) and that 左側に寄つて does not mean "pull over" (it does). Well, here is a video of Japanese police doing a traffic stop and using their siren.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSczvoiBJU4

I hope this clears things up and I would hope Frungy now understands why this woman should have known that she should have pulled over, especially after having a police car with flashing lights and a siren sounding behind her for 10 kilometers. It would also be nice if a got an apology, too.

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@bass4funk, toshiko

You'll never find a UK cop pulling a gun in a situation like that. In fact the vast majority of UK cops don't carry a gun at all.

But in the US, you do wrong, you get a gun pointed at you.

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This story is weird all the way around, and it is interesting to see the difference between the comments here on JT and the comments on the Yahoo rendition of the exact same story. Driving on I-15 in southern Utah, where the speed is 130kph (80 mph) shouldn't have been a difficult place to worry about US traffic signs and whether you are on the left or the right side of the road. Perhaps the couple was used to the husband sitting on the right and driving and the wife on the left and resting, so instead of switching sides of the car, they decided to switch drivers. So many possibilities for short stories here; fact is indeed stranger than fiction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In USA, police cars flash signals on the car top. Then huge siren sounds. So, car drivers move to right side of right lane and let police cars move fast. On the right side of freeway and highway, there is a lane that can be used by people changing tire, etc. Police cars stop at eft side of the car, or front of the car (stopped). I don;t know after that, l

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That's a long distance to drive and in the middle of nowhere. They should have gotten a tour or something. I remember when I visited Zion, I saw a group of old Japanese on the tram. They were probably part of a tour group.

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@toshiko

Read LVRJ newspaper or visit Las Vegas for just one week. LV METRO cops shooting suspect stories are not rare. LV is in Nevada. We have different kind of LEA and different kind of history. A little while ago, a cop shot isomeone in a shopping center and cops thought burglar and shot him. So many stories that LV cop shootings do not go on nationall news. When Cosa Nostra was dominating, FBI OCI teams never trusted METRO.

I don't need to read, Most of my family live in Vegas and in Vegas, especially in North Vegas, high unemployment, which will lead to more crime. My uncle is cop out there and there are more incidents due to the higher crime rate. So it's understandable. I'm sorry, but cops are not going to go out and randomly shot people because they are bored. That just doesn't happen. However, if the bad guy has ANY weapon and is not willing to put it down, wants to challenge the police, which happens a lot, you just don't understand,cthe determination, the fortitude and the hate that some of these thugs have towards cops and cops don't want to become a statistic, when it comes to physco bad guys. Unless it's something seriously major, the officer is not going to shot you, that just doesn't happen.

@mmwkdw

The US is in Comparison to Japan not a Safe Country, so yes I can understand the Drivers response.

I would definitely agree, Japan is safer in particular the big cities,, but in smaller towns, suburbs, rural areas far less crime. I'm from a small rural area and we never had a problem with unlocked doors. It just depends.

@taiko666

You'll never find a UK cop pulling a gun in a situation like that. In fact the vast majority of UK cops don't carry a gun at all.

That's the UK, so what. The US is NOT the UK. Canada is a commonwealth and they have guns, different people, different cultures, different societies. If you are scared, you don't have to take a vacation there, but millions do, so for the millions that do, they don't seem to be bothered about the police having guns.

But in the US, you do wrong, you get a gun pointed at you.

Sorry, but that is a lie. When I was a younger in the US, I had a heavy lead foot. I was the king of speeding tickets I had a total of 14 speeding tickets and every time, I was pulled over, NOT one time have I ever had a gun pointed at me. You're trolling now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't blame the police for being cautious at 1am. Since the I-15 is close to Arizona border, it's always possible that some of the drivers that are driving out of the ordinary or erratic in the middle of the night could be a carring a loaded weapon and a possibly a large amount of drugs from Nogales or Southern Arizona. They could've been drivng North through Flagstaff and connecting through St. George where I-15 is located. My advise to any tourist that is not familar with the area is to drive only on daytime and understand the driving rules. It's much safer than getting shot or arrested.

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nessie was correct. In California, you can use your Japanese license. This family evidently went to California from Japan and then travelled to Utah, where they actually do need both their Japanese and International license.

Some additional information from Yahoo:

http://news.yahoo.com/confused-japanese-tourists-led-utah-police-high-speed-191623367--sector.html;_ylt=A0SO8xXsiw5TEVoA3rZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEzZDNhYmJkBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1NNRTMyMV8x

With the help of a Japanese-speaking police officer reached by phone, the couple told police they had traveled from Japan to California on Friday and were headed to Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park on vacation.

"That's kind of a surprise, lights and sirens are a pretty universal thing," Horne said. "We deal with tourists all the time, particularly from Japan, and we've never had that problem before."

Troopers took the family to a nearby hotel. No charges are expected but Horne said the woman's erratic driving posed a serious threat to other motorists. The squad arrested about eight drunk drivers that night, he added.

"She drove worse than any of those we arrested," he said.

Definitely sounds like it could be a scene from a comedy movie.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@bass4funk: N LV is not Las Vegas. Poor city almost bankrupting. Last year, a diabetic Veteran was in a car with diabetic shock, two police cars went from both side of this guys car and the guys; cars were stuck. One cop shot the car with stun gun, another guy shot this guy and killed. The cop who shot is free now. City is sued. Recently, Vegas Mayor's son was attacked in a park. People rumor that a cop did. Her husband is a retired mob attorney and three times Vegas Mayor who retired mayor and then his wife became Mayor. My daughter had to comfort her and stopped other people to tell rumor to her. . I only mentioned Las Vegas. Npt N Las Vegas or Henderson. If you ask your family cop, they will tell you a young man was confronting his mother, cop went to help, then shot the young man and killed last year. Too many in Las Vegas so I wrote only two cases. Shoot and kill by METRO cops.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can easily see this poor women trying her hand at driving on "kowai" American highways, giving the husband a rest, and panicking once she realized the cars are going above 100 kph by quite a bit, especially out where they were. Once the police showed up I imagine it was all over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

slumdogFeb. 27, 2014 - 05:58AM JST

Thus your use of the word, "pull over", which is a synonym for stopping, is an inappropriate and incorrect translation of the law.

Really?

'Pull over' means move to the side of the road. Stop means to stop. That is what they mean in my posts and that is what they mean in Japanese, too. In the case of the US, you would pull over to the right. Here in Japan, you pull over to the left, as I wrote above.

I must admit I've been expecting this, which is why I clarified in am earlier post that pull over is a synonym for stop. Go and check a dictionary. I checked the COCA (corpus of contemporary American English) and the top 20 examples I looked at all use "pull over" in the sense of moving the car to the side of the road and then stopping.

I'm afraid that you have fundamentally misunderstood the meaning of the word "pull over", and as such you have been saying something completely different from what you intended, namely that if you hear a siren you should move to the side of the road and stop. As I pointed out repeatedly, you do not have to stop, merely move over... but you still disagreed that merely moving over was not sufficient, and that one had to "pull over". I'm not sure what you think "pull over" means, but perhaps you should invest in a dictionary?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I clarified in am earlier post that pull over is a synonym for stop. Go and check a dictionary.

Okay.

http://ejje.weblio.jp/content/pull+over

pull over

(1) 車を道の片側に寄せる.

Now, please stop.

This woman should have pulled over whether she were in Japan or in the US. She should not have continued for 10 kilometers and you have shown no reason at all to support thinking she should have.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Frungy: When people are told to pull over, they pull their cars to right side of right lane. Am I wrong? Then if the car does not stop, cops yell Stop. Am I right or wrong? I heard the reason is to prevent cars pile up on the lanes. There are two or more lanes in right side and left side. If left lane car of two lanes stop, pile up happens? So, move over is to move to right of right lane to stop on right side space? My knowledge of this topic is from news and cop related scenes on TV in USA.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

slumdog and Frungy, please do not address each other any further on this thread, since you are just going around in circles.

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toshiko,

Yes, you are correct. Thank you for your comment. In Japan, of course, cars should pull over to the left side or left lane, though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@sfjp330

100% agreed. Been through that area a few times, yes, it can get a bit scary for the obvious reasons you just mentioned. I could imagine that with all the hills, shadows, cliffs, it's very easy for people to hide, smuggle or ambush someone, if you wanted to do something illegal, that would be the perfect place to do it. More than enough reasons for the police to be cautious.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@slumdog: My daughters often visit Japan. They don't drive in Japan because Japanese cars are right-handled and streets are in different direction than USA. They are 5'4" and they can not fit in mini cars, They say streets are very narrow. Because they don't drive in Japan, I don;t think they get International Drivers License. Just Visitors Visa I guess.

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toshikoFeb. 27, 2014 - 10:17AM JST @Frungy: When people are told to pull over, they pull their cars to right side of right lane. Am I wrong?

I am afraid you are mistaken. Move over means move to the right side of the right-hand lane (in the U.S., in left hand driving countries is means left side of the left-hand lane). Pull over means to pull off the road and into the emergency lane or hard shoulder of the road, with the intention of stopping.

From Google define: pull over phrasal verb of pull

1. (of a vehicle) move to the side of or off the road. "I decided to pull over on to the hard shoulder" synonyms: stop, halt, come to a stop/halt, pull in, pull off the road, draw in, park, arrive, draw up...

This isn't merely how the word is defined in a dictionary. I checked COCA (the corpus of contemporary American English) which is a huge database of millions of examples of how English is used today. In every example the meaning of the word as it is used in modern English is that of moving the car to the side of the road to stop the vehicle, for example the top three hits from COCA:

"Pull over to the side of the road, then take the text". "So why would a person pull over in the middle of the night?" "If they see flashing lights in their rear-view mirror, should they pull over or just keep driving."

In modern usage the meaning of "pull over" is clearly to move the car as far out of the stream of traffic as is possible and then stop.

Then if the car does not stop, cops yell Stop. Am I right or wrong?

If a police car is just flashing its lights then the correct reaction is to move over and slow down a bit (not pull over, which means something completely different): "State law requires drivers approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck or highway maintenance vehicle displaying flashing lights, and traveling in the same direction, to reduce speed and, if safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to stationary vehicles." (Source: http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/move-over-law/ - the quoted section is the law for Utah)

Normally the police in the U.S. will then signal that they want you to pull over (move off the road and stop) by putting the siren on for a second, then off again, and repeating this as many times as is necessary to get your attention and indicate that they want you to do more than just move over, but rather to pull over. In Japan the police will rather use a loudspeaker to tell you that they want you to pull over. This is a cultural difference.

The police officer who made the statement that blue lights are a universal signal to pull over and stop needs a refresher course in the law. The lights alone don't require anyone to pull over. Move over? Sure. Pull over? No.

I heard the reason is to prevent cars pile up on the lanes. There are two or more lanes in right side and left side. If left lane car of two lanes stop, pile up happens? So, move over is to move to right of right lane to stop on right side space? My knowledge of this topic is from news and cop related scenes on TV in USA.

You're correct about leaving as much space as possible, but the real reason is to stop police officers, ambulance crew, etc from being hit by cars that are passing too closely and/or too fast near the accident/stopped car. There is also glass/metal/etc on the ground at a car crash and it isn't just in the lane where the accident happened, so unless you want a punctured tire then it just makes sense to keep as far from the accident as possible and to reduce speed so you can avoid the debris.

The laws vary from state to state in the U.S., but as a rule of thumb it is always a good idea to slow down and move over when you see emergency lights, because it means that there's an emergency somewhere nearby and you don't want to crash into it.

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They were extremely lucky not to have gotten shot by the officers. Had that happened the investigation by internal affairs would have backed the officers saying the shooting was justifiable because the officers were afraid for the officer's lives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Move over means move to the right side of the right-hand lane (in the U.S., in left hand driving countries is means left side of the left-hand lane

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I an still confused. I live in USA and left handles cars. But there is no space but barrier on left of left side lane on freeway. Residential area, just white or yewllow lines.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

when i drive in japan and the j-cops have there lights on, i dont pull over, the first and 2nd time it happend to me, i pulled over and they went around me. My j-buddy told me when they have lights on it just means they are just patrolling . also when they want you to pull over or get of the way, they will put on there siren and use the PA system. this is when i pull over. If its you they are trying to pull over, they will not pass you. This is what has happen to me in the many years i have lived and drove in Japan. In america, if there lights go on, you better pull over to the side if they are behind you. This is just my own observation.

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Move over means move to the right side of the right-hand lane (in the U.S., in left hand driving countries is means left side of the left-hand lane

Yes, toshiko.

You are correct. Please don't get confused. I know you can read Japanese and know what the rules are and what pull over means. In this very article, the officer talks about the need to pull over to the side of the road and stop. The officer, you and I know that first you pull over, then you stop.

“Regardless of nationality and language, when we put lights on, people pull over and stop.”

Of course he is not saying, “Regardless of nationality and language, when we put lights on, people stop and stop.”

So, we know that pull over means move to the side of the road. This Japanese woman should have known this because the same rules apply here as noted earlier in the Japanese rules of the road I posted earlier.

Unfortunately, This driver did not do either.

But there is no space but barrier on left of left side lane on freeway. Residential area, just white or yewllow lines.

The police in Japan and in the US just want you to pull over to the side. If they want to stop you, they will pull over behind you.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

realjapan@Nessie - The statue you cited states "immediate possession".

And what's your point? A visitor in possession of a valid foreign license is legally allowed to drive in California, as I said (twice). And you can rent a car on a foreign license without an international license. I know because I've done it.

@slumdog

Thank you for your citation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nessie,

No problem! As you mentioned, while it is okay to use a Japanese license in California, it is not true of many (maybe all?) the other states. For example, Utah where this family went. I honestly can't understand why anyone would thumb you down for commenting about it, particularly as in this case that is potentially what this family actually did.

Toshiko,

I am a little concerned that people might be misled about how to react in a situation such as this woman and her family found themselves in.

Let's look at what some individual states suggest to do when an emergency vehicle approaches. While doing so, it is important to pay careful attention to the language being used and what it means. Note that you are instructed to 'pull over and stop' or 'move and stop'

In the US, first you pull over and then you stop. In Japan, you pull over.

In Virginia:

When an emergency vehicle is approaching: · Pull over to the edge of the roadway, clear of intersections, and stop

http://www.roanokeva.gov/WebMgmt/ywbase61b.nsf/vwContentByKey/N26LSRJX062TBRYEN

In Utah (They use the term 'move' because as one can see it means the same thing as 'pull over')

Move to the Right, Never to the Left!

State law requires the driver of a vehicle, when an emergency vehicle approaches, to move to the right and stop. On the freeway the stopping part is not always practical. What you can do is keep gradually slowing, moving carefully to the right, until the trooper passes.

http://publicsafety.utah.gov/highwaypatrol/what_you_should_know/emergency_vehicle.html

New York:

Pull over to the side of the road and stop until all emergency vehicles are safely by.

http://www.safeny.ny.gov/emer-ndx.htm

Ohio:

Pull over to the right (all the way to the curb if practical) and stop parallel to the curb.

https://www.ohiobar.org/ForPublic/Resources/LawYouCanUse/Pages/LawYouCanUse-531.aspx

California:

Look to the front, both sides and toward the rear of your vehicle, signal your intention to pull over well in advance and begin to adjust your vehicle’s speed to merge with any traffic to the side you are pulling to. Once you have moved your vehicle to the side, brake gradually as required and bring your vehicle to a safe stop.

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/section2.10.11.shtml

Massachusetts:

State law requires you to pull over to the right side of the road and stop when signaled by a police officer.

http://www.massrmv.com/rmv/dmanual/chapter_5.pdf

So, as we can easily see, 'move to' and 'pull over' do mean the same thing in this situation. If not, they would not tell you to stop afterward.

It is very important to know the rules of any country you plan to drive in.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Pull over and stop is tautology. They mean the same thing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Now, we can see that this woman must have panicked because we know you should pull over to the side or move over to the side in both Japan and the US of the police are approaching you with their lights and siren on.

Some were suggesting it would somehow be understandable that this woman would not know what to do in the US. As has been aptly demonstrated, according to the laws of Japan, she would have pulled over to the side (or moved to the side of the road) and then would have stopped if the police car had followed behind her. This is true in Japan and true in the US.

As has been noted, pull over and stop and move and stop are exactly the same meaning in this case. You do not just stop. That would be deadly on a highway. You pull over or move out of the way to the side first.

This is the real point of this discussion.

Sirens are used to stop people both in Japan and the US.

People should move to the side (or pull over to the side) when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind in both Japan and the US.

If a police car follows you to the side and sounds the siren (especially of a lonely highway no less), you should stop.

All common sense.

Attempting to defend the mistaken actions of this woman by suggesting that somehow it is because the rules are different in Japan is quite incorrect. The basic necessary responses in both countries are exactly the same. This is especially true if the police want you to stop the car.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Please stop repeating yourself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@bass4funk

Ok, in the light of your experiences I'll amend that to it seems that if you do wrong you get a gun pulled on you.

If you'd not stopped, would you have had a gun pulled on you then? Is a fleeing suspect always shot at in the US? Just a question, because it certainly seems that way.

And yes, the UK is a different culture. I made the point that in UK the cops don't carry guns as an illustration that not all countries have a crazy gun culture like the US.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

http://www.moveoveramerica.com/moveover_dover.html

New 'pull over' law goes into effect today: Drivers must give emergency, DOT vehicles wide berth.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kim S Mao Feb. 27, 2014 - 12:11PM JST

when i drive in japan and the j-cops have there lights on, i dont pull over, the first and 2nd time it happend to me, i pulled over and they went around me. My j-buddy told me when they have lights on it just means they are just patrolling . also when they want you to pull over or get of the way, they will put on there siren and use the PA system. this is when i pull over. If its you they are trying to pull over, they will not pass you. This is what has happen to me in the many years i have lived and drove in Japan. In america, if there lights go on, you better pull over to the side if they are behind you. This is just my own observation.

And your observation is entirely correct Kim S Mao.

U.S.A. - Blue lights behind = Pull over (even though the law says move over) Japan - Blue lights behind = Move over and they'll use the PA system if they want you to pull over.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The law in the US that says you should move over when an emergency vehicle approaches is often referred to as the 'pull over' law as move over and pull over can mean the same thing.

In my case, I have never suggested that one must stop if the police flash their lights at you in Japan. I was pretty clear in what I meant by pull over. I was also clear (with lots of proof) that police do use their sirens when they want people to stop, too.

At any rate, it was very mistaken to suggest that this woman did what she did because of the situation in Japan. There is nothing in Japanese law that would explain it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All this discussion of pulling over / stopping is a bit bizarre.

Surely it's common sense that if you see flashing lights on a police car behind you, you first move over to the nearside (=left in civilised countries like Japan in the UK, right almost everywhere else :-) )

If the police car in question does the same (rather than zooming past you) then it's a fair assumption that he wants a word with you and it's time to stop, turn your engine off, wind down your window and with your best smile say "good evening officer."

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@taiko666

Ok, in the light of your experiences I'll amend that to it seems that if you do wrong you get a gun pulled on you.

No, NOT true at all.

If you'd not stopped, would you have had a gun pulled on you then? Is a fleeing suspect always shot at in the US? Just a question, because it certainly seems that way.

If I am fleeing, there must be some reason. Because, it the officer tells me to stop and I keep on driving and basically shrug him off, I am asking for him. At that point, it would've been me who had control of the situation, but I chose to NOT follow the officers orders and in that case, the officer takes from that, I am likely a person that has something to hide or did something wrong and if a chase pursues, either taser guns or regular guns will be drawn and I don't blame them, they should follow protocol and and not take chances in a situation like that.

And yes, the UK is a different culture. I made the point that in UK the cops don't carry guns as an illustration that not all countries have a crazy gun culture like the US.

And that's fine, we don't have a crazy hooligan culture like the UK. You will NOT win the gun debate, different countries, different rules, laws and people. You love your country and I love mine. You don't want the UK to be like the US and I definitely don't want to US to be like the UK. If I want to be like the UK, I will move there.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

taiko666Feb. 27, 2014 - 10:53PM JST All this discussion of pulling over / stopping is a bit bizarre.

Yes, yes it really is. Someone here thinks that they can argue with the dictionary definition of a word and then cites a few examples of other people who've used the word incorrectly and thinks that proves the point. Anecdotes are not evidence, they're just an example of someone who doesn't understand how languages work.

It doesn't, it really doesn't. No sometimes there are words that are used incorrectly commonly enough that the meaning needs to change, so I checked COCA (the corpus of contemporary American English - a massive database of American English) and COCA the examples in COCA all show the same thing, that "pull over" means "stop your car on the side of the road", whereas "move over" means move to a different lane (left in Japan/U.K./etc, right in the U.S./Russia/etc.).

Surely it's common sense that if you see flashing lights on a police car behind you, you first move over to the nearside (=left in civilised countries like Japan in the UK, right almost everywhere else :-) )

Interesting historical fact, the U.S. used to drive on the left, but then changed to the right.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry, but if you plan to operate a 3-ton chunk of metal and fire in another country, you're supposed to be familiar with that country's traffic laws. That's just basic; you don't need to bone up on the law to know that much. This driver led the police in a high-speed chase for miles and endangered others -- and her defense is being ignorant and "confused by the lights"? Can she now go and chip a piece off the Lincoln memorial for a souvenir, and say "she didn't know"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

police support them very nice if the same thing happen in japan to a tourist what will the Japanese police do ? can any one explain please

0 ( +0 / -0 )

slumdogFeb. 27, 2014 - 12:23PM JST Move over means move to the right side of the right-hand lane (in the U.S., in left hand driving countries is means left side of the left-hand lane Yes, toshiko. You are correct.

Huh? It depends on the situation. It's more about safety first. If you are stuck in morning or afternoon traffic in places like Los Angeles or any other large metropolitian citie, sometimes it is unsafe to move your cars four lanes to the right side under heavy traffic. Sometimes officer might tell you though the loudspeaker from their car to pull to the left side if there is a space available on the emergency lane. Even if there is a siren for ambulance or police cars on congested highways, since there is no lanes open, you migh merge slightly to the right and let them pass on the emergency lane, if it's available. If not, sometimes police or ambulance will wait and you will not be ticketed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Huh? It depends on the situation.

Of course, it does. However, the general rule is move over to the corresponding side. The laws in both countries are specific that you cede the road to the emergency vehicle. That is the priority.

All this discussion of pulling over / stopping is a bit bizarre.

Actually, I am finding this whole conversation so bizarre. I wrote that people should pull over when there is an emergency vehicle behind them. (I am fine to say move over) I was told in a now deleted post that the woman would have had no idea what to do when a siren was sounded by an emergency vehicle. I explain they are used for traffic stops and I am told I am wrong. I post the police site showing they do it. Then I have to get into an argument about what the word '行う' means. Then, I have to get into an argument about what '取締り' means. Then, I have to get into an argument about what 'pull over' means, even though I explained several times what I meant.

In Japan, the siren and lights mean pull over to (not pull over on) or move to the left. They do not mean get out of the way in any direction you feel like.

In the end, the poster causing me to do this was wrong about every basic premise of our argument and instead got me stuck in a language argument about several Japanese words they misunderstood when it is clear they have trouble reading the Japanese language. Most importantly they were wrong about their premise that their was some explanation in Japanese police actions or laws for the bizarre behavior on the part of this woman.There are none.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is this non-sense about blue lights, the cop said "red and blue lights". It is also true that in California you can drive with a valid non-California license from any states or country. The country part is weird to me. Most countries and most US States requires both a valid license from their home country and an international drivers license. BTW, it is some 545 miles ( 877 km) from LAX to Bryce Canyon National Park, an 8 hr trip but if driving that slow more like 13 hours. I think most of the park is closed this time of the year. Since the speed limit is 75-80 in this area, she break any speed laws but is some states you can get a ticket if you drive under 40 mph on the freeway. You are supposed to put your flashers on to warn other drivers if you drop below 50. And it is mph, the speed-o-meters are in MPH and the signs are in MPH. There are no lights in most of Interstate15 and the road is worse once you get off the freeway to get to the park. You are in the mountains and the snows can be deadly. Japan police do have guns. Sometimes you wonder if they know how to use it as in a story a couple months ago where a J-cop left is gun in a restroom. I've driven in both the US and Japan. The 80 kph seemed real slow to me and never mind 35 or 25 kph. Many drivers in the US tend to drive much faster than the posted limit, especially on a freeway. With a posted speed limit of 70 it not unusual to drivers at 80 or 90 mph. Posted speed, add 10. Granted it is much easier driving in the US since the roads are wider and straighter, especially freeway with multiples lanes up to 6 on each side.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Nessie: My point is this - Do not assume they had a license with them. The article does not state it so do not make up facts. The statue YOU quoted states "immediate possession." Their is nothing in the article that states they had any license with them. Luckily, the Utah police were kind enough to let them go due to their lack of English skill and their child. Driving 101 surely teaches drivers to stop when a police car flashes its lights, blows its siren, and tells the driver to pull over. You talking about California when they were driving in Utah a different jurisdiction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The UK, to do with this news!! Oh you would never see a London bobby pulling out a gun in bloody old England?? Yeah?? So what!! THE USA is full of guns!! American cops need to be prepared for ANYTHING! This time it was just a couple of idiot Japanese tourists with no common sense! Not even for JAPAN! What if the people in the car had been high drugs and had been carrying AK 47s from the Mexican border up to anywhere USA?? So we just say, I will be a nice guy, not pull out my gun and next you will have a bunch of US cops shot DEAD! I always tell my Japanese students not to screw around in the USA etc...maybe these fools decided to go off to the USA, rent a car etc..with out taking a few lessons at NOVA??

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Nessie and all: Real Hangover IV type driving in this piece! Guess they saw too many Hollywood movies in California and try to simulate the same in Utah. The Utah police could've had them for fleeing the scene, failure to obey a lawful order, obstruction of justice, reckless endangerment, endangerment of a minor, and driving while lacking common sense (DWC). I am surprise that didn't yell "I'll be back!" after the police let them go.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Silly, but considering what you see on 'Cops', she was probably one of the more intelligent ones over there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It has been mentioned several times that you do not have to stop in Japan when you hear a siren of an emergency vehicle. This is actually not correct either. There are actually times when you must get to the left side and stop your vehicle temporarily when you are approached by an emergency vehicle in Japan. This is when your vehicle is in or near an intersection. Let me be clear, you must get to the left (move over) and stop temporarily. This is the previous part of the article of Japanese traffic law that I mentioned above.

第四十条  交差点又はその附近において、緊急自動車が接近してきたときは、路面電車は交差点を避けて、車両(緊急自動車を除く。以下この条において同じ。)は交差点を避け、かつ、道路の左側(一方通行となつている道路においてその左側に寄ることが緊急自動車の通行を妨げることとなる場合にあつては、道路の右側。次項において同じ。)に寄つて一時停止しなければならない。

So, there is no doubt that there are also times when you must get to the left side and stop temporarily for emergency vehicles in Japan.

I read some more about the story in the Japanese press. The husband evidently was the one with the driving license and he rented the car. The wife did not have a license (whether that means she did not have a Japanese one with her or that she never got one in the first place, I have no idea).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@bass4funk

"hooligan culture" - if you're talking about football (soccer) then you're 20 years out of date. If you're talking about young idiots who can't hold their drink on a Friday or Saturday night ... maybe!

All this talk about guns being pulled stems from an experience my dad had in the 70s in California. He was pulled over for some minor traffic violation, was spoken to politely by a cop who asked him for his licence. He didn't have it on him, so the cop asked him politely but firmly to step out of the car - after unholstering his gun. It made quite an impression on him and subsequently on me. I'm proud that the UK police don't wave guns at people, and you're proud / happy with the fact that USA police do... fair enough :-)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Pulling over(side of the road) and stopping is the standard procedure I learned when being approached from behind may it be an ambulance, fire-engine or a patrol vehicle. I got drivers licences in 5 countries (3 continents).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@taiko666

"hooligan culture" - if you're talking about football (soccer) then you're 20 years out of date.

I was in the UK last year, Nope, I am very up to date.

If you're talking about young idiots who can't hold their drink on a Friday or Saturday night ... maybe!

Maybe, that's putting a spin on it very lightly.

All this talk about guns being pulled stems from an experience my dad had in the 70s in California. He was pulled over for some minor traffic violation, was spoken to politely by a cop who asked him for his licence. He didn't have it on him, so the cop asked him politely but firmly to step out of the car - after unholstering his gun. It made quite an impression on him and subsequently on me. I'm proud that the UK police don't wave guns at people, and you're proud / happy with the fact that USA police do... fair enough :-)

The 70s???? Things have changed a lot since then, a lot. Again, if your dad was traumatized about that, sorry to hear that. I have never had to deal with that or were a witness to that. And again, different bag of fruit. And as I told you, I am a native Angelino and I have never seen a gun put in someone's face, just for a routine stop, I know that doesn't happen, if it did, there would be lawsuits up the rear. Most police around the country don't want to go there. So they are extremely careful to take out their firearms unless, it's absolutely necessary. Personally, I still wouldn't trade the US for anything, it's just a matter of preference and where you feel comfortable.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It"S MEFeb. 28, 2014 - 08:42PM JST Pulling over(side of the road) and stopping is the standard procedure I learned when being approached from behind may it be an ambulance, fire-engine or a patrol vehicle. I got drivers licences in 5 countries (3 continents).

... except in Japan where you only stop under very specific circumstances and normally just move over, reduce speed and keep driving when an emergency vehicle comes up behind you with lights and siren going.

And this is the core misunderstanding here and probably why things escalated. The driver didn't share the same cultural background and didn't understand that she was expected to pull over. My guess is that when the cop car followed her across but she didn't hear a loudspeaker asking her to pull over she thought she'd better speed up to avoid obstructing the police officer - and was probably totally confused and disoriented by the lights and siren.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

My guess is that when the cop car followed her across but she didn't hear a loudspeaker asking her to pull over she thought she'd better speed up to avoid obstructing the police officer - and was probably totally confused and disoriented by the lights and siren.

I'm curious as to what could she possibly be "obstructing the police officer" from that would make her think speeding up and racing ahead of him would solve?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Common sense is sor are these days that it should be classified as super power! Obviously these couple didn't have one...could they have had some illegal stash hidden somewhere?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Frungy.

I have been riding here for 17yrs all pull over and come to a standstill to let them pass.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It"S ME,

I agree with you that that is what many people do. I just saw cars doing this as an emergency vehicle approached.

What you are doing is not illegal as it is not illegal to pull to the side of the road and stop in Japan if an emergency vehicle is passing you. In the situations, such as those that I pointed out above, not stopping temporarily to let the emergency vehicle pass is quite illegal. So, it is generally the better and safer option to pull over and stop to let the emergency vehicle pass.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just a stupid lady driving the car is all it is. Language barriers my ass. It sounds like she has never driven in Japan which is much more difficult that in the USA. Plain stupid bitch.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

These days after 911, American (especially law enforcements) do suffered some paranoid stage of panic when little thing could turn into a big big issue with police car, ambulance, fire truck, helicopter, (may be fighter jets) if you're flying......all accompany you through out!!

It's also a rather stupid couple without common sense, and how the heck they could pass and obtain a Japanese driver license?? when emergency vehicle with siren passing by, you should quite naturally slow down or pull over. by saying language and cultural barrier, then they should stay home.

Another funny story happen in Canada too......two young Japanese tourists left their backpacks unattended at railway station with propane gas and those flamable equipment (presumably they're going camping somewhere in Canada) along a busy passenger alley which prompts the entire shut down of the railway station for hours. After their return, these 2 young Japanese went out for lunch and buy something matches......Hilarious!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

evian1Mar. 02, 2014 - 02:17PM JST It's also a rather stupid couple without common sense, and how the heck they could pass and obtain a Japanese driver license?? when emergency vehicle with siren passing by, you should quite naturally slow down or pull over. by saying language and cultural barrier, then they should stay home.

The Japanese traffic laws under these circumstances require you to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens on. We only have the police officer's account of what happened, but I suspect that they probably tried this, and when the police officer continued to follow them they got confused. In Japan the police would signal their desire for you to pull over with a loudspeaker, but this didn't happen, so they became confused. As a result they sped up and drove erratically trying to figure out what they were expected to do.

It isn't nice to call them stupid and unqualified to drive in Japan when they were actually following the Japanese rules, and became confused when things didn't go the way they expected.

I've seen a LOT of posters here claiming that they'd pull over, which is the rule in their home country, and who would doubtless be confused and upset if they were rear-ended by another driver who wasn't expecting them to pull over, and would be confused when the police pointed out that the collision was their fault for stopping unexpectedly. It seems like a lot of posters here are guilty of precisely what these tourists did, namely assuming that the traffic laws are the same as those in their home country.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Give it a rest, Frungy.

Lady was was swerving from lane to lane on a (presumably) deserted highway at one in the morning going super slow. When the cops turned on the lights and sirens she panicked. What ever role linguistic barriers and cultural ignorance may have played subsequently, its pretty clear she didn't have it all together from the get-go.

Good on the Utah state police for handling this situation with professionalism and grace.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Triumvere,

Thank you for your post. One thing is for certain, this woman should not have been driving. As you stated and as the police stated, she was driving much too slowly and too erractically. This is not the standard way to drive in Japan, either. The police state that when the police lights and siren went on, the woman did not move over to the side of the road, but instead sped up to 125 kph. This is not a standard reaction in the US or in Japan.

While it is possible that this was a result of a cultural misunderstanding on the part of this particular driver/couple, I think this is more probably a personal misunderstanding on the part of the driver and not a cultural misunderstanding. It is my understanding that many, many Japanese visit the US every year. I have never heard of this happening before. If this were based on a cultural difference, one would think this would happen more than once.

Good on the Utah state police for handling this situation with professionalism and grace.

Absolutely. It seems the couple was lucky they had the child in the back seat of the car. That is seems to be what tipped them off that the occupants might not be dangerous and lowered the chance of a violent reaction by the police.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TriumvereMar. 02, 2014 - 03:25PM JST Lady was was swerving from lane to lane on a (presumably) deserted highway at one in the morning going super slow.

Sounds like pretty typical tired tourist driving to me. They're undeniably tired, its 1am and the trip from California to Utah is 12 hours driving the speed limit, but looking at google maps there seems to be construction work on the north-bound right two lanes of the I-15 North, and they're in the process of widening the I-15 N from 2 lanes to 4 lanes. This could explain the slow speed, and since exits are on the right it could explain the weaving since she may have been looking for an exit but unable to find one. Either way they've been driving for 12 hours or more and she's driving the speed limit she's comfortable with, i.e. the one she drives back home in Japan, around 60km/hr. She wasn't "swerving", she was "weaving", which could be tiredness and tunnel vision, or just the byproduct of someone unfamiliar with driving long distances at night finding it difficult to keep the car straight.

When the cops turned on the lights and sirens she panicked. What ever role linguistic barriers and cultural ignorance may have played subsequently, its pretty clear she didn't have it all together from the get-go.

Yes, she panicked. She was exhausted, 12 hours in a car will do that to you. She reacted as she would in Japan, she moved over, but the cop didn't pass her. Now she's tired and confused, in an unfamiliar situation and the cop isn't behaving like she'd expect. In Japan the police office would use the loud speaker in the car to ask her to slow down and pull over, but this cop isn't doing that, so she tries slowing down, tries speeding up, tries changing lanes, etc. If the roadwork (which can be seen on google maps) was still present along the right side of the road she may have been reluctant to pull through the cones and might have been trying to get to an area where she felt it was safe to stop.

She was tired and in an unfamiliar culture trying to deal with a cop who thought that he was giving a universal sign to pull over. As a result the cop started driving very aggressively and she probably felt threatened.

Good on the Utah state police for handling this situation with professionalism and grace.

Good on them for the resolution, but it could have ended very badly if she hadn't controlled the car after its tires were slashed.

Traffic laws aren't "universal", for example:

In Beijing, China it is illegal to stop at a pedestrian crossing In Spain, if you wear glasses you need to carry a spare pair in your car. In South Africa animals have right of way In Japan lights and a siren mean, "move out of the way", and being pulled over by the police is done by means of a loudspeaker.

That people cannot grasp that their own culture and own traffic rules are not the model for every other country in the world is pretty much the epitomy of intolerance.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Triumvere,

Lady was was swerving from lane to lane on a (presumably) deserted highway at one in the morning going super slow.

Exactly, even if this woman was driving tired. We don't know she was, but let's say she was. Driving tired when it affects your driving is illegal in Japan and can result inup to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million yen.

Traffic laws are not traffic suggestions. They are traffic laws. Ignorance of them is no excuse. A traveler is responsible for knowing the laws of the country they are visiting. It is not the responsibility of each country to know the laws and customs of every other country in the world.

Good on the Utah state police for handling this situation with professionalism and grace.

Yup, this couple got off very easily. In Japan, they could have been looking at a hefty fine and some possible prison time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Exactly, even if this woman was driving tired. We don't know she was, but let's say she was. Driving tired when it affects your driving is illegal in Japan and can result inup to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million yen

Driving when impaired (e.g. tired) [過労等運転] is 6 points off your license and a fine, not 5 years in prison or a fine of up to a million yen. Obviously things can get much more serious if you're driving when impaired, cause an accident and someone dies, but the information contained in the previous post is just plain misleading.

Utah doesn't currently have sleep-deprived driving laws, they've commissioned some studies into it (because clearly they can't trust the body of international research on the subject because Utah is a magical kingdom with different rules).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am so sorry for anyone interested. I forgot to post the Japanese version of the law.

第六十六条 何人も、前条第一項に規定する場合のほか、過労、病気、薬物の影響その他の理由により、正常な運転ができないおそれがある状態で車両等を運転してはならない。(罰則 第百十七条の二第三号〔五年以下の懲役又は百万円以下の罰金

I am sure that clears things up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just a typical tourist being an absolute idiot. They are SOOOOO lucky this didn't end in a shower of bullets. I live in the Banff AB Canada area and we see this all the time. (ie wedding couple pulling onto the main highway ramp going the wrong way...head on collision with truck...dead) Why do supposedly intelligent people park their brains at home when they decide to drive a car at anther destination? Let alone cultural, language, left/right hand drive issues!!!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, she panicked. She was exhausted, 12 hours in a car will do that to you. She reacted as she would in Japan, she moved over, but the cop didn't pass her. Now she's tired and confused, in an unfamiliar situation and the cop isn't behaving like she'd expect. In Japan the police office would use the loud speaker in the car to ask her to slow down and pull over, but this cop isn't doing that, so she tries slowing down, tries speeding up, tries changing lanes, etc.

Man, this is the thread that keeps on giving. I just wanted to say Frungy that I disagree with everything you've posted in this thread, but I will give you some props for at least being consistent. If you recall the discussion we had when a woman in DC refused to stop for police and got herself shot - this paragraph above looks like it could have been lifted directly from that conversation.

I think driving is a privilege. If you (the general you) are unable to abide by the rules of the road (for whatever reason - exhausted, confused, blind, drunk, ignorant etc) then don't get behind the wheel. One of the most basic of rules is that if you even see a cop motioning in your direction you stop your damn car. To do otherwise is not only to endanger your life, but also the lives of the officers and bystanders who may encounter you. Its no joke out there.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

hidingoutMar. 04, 2014 - 01:13AM JST

Man, this is the thread that keeps on giving. I just wanted to say Frungy that I disagree with everything you've posted in this thread, but I will give you some props for at least being consistent. If you recall the discussion we had when a woman in DC refused to stop for police and got herself shot - this paragraph above looks like it could have been lifted directly from that conversation.

Thanks for the props. And the reason that the two paragraphs may look similar is because human beings will tend to react similarly in situations that are fundamentally the same. You may have been taught that everyone is a beautiful and unique snowflake, but actually people react pretty similarly to the same stimuli. The two scenarios are similar because you had two women, both tired after a long drive faced with an unfamiliar, threatening situation. The tiredness is important since it tends to reset us to our "default" reaction rather than the more complex social rules, and in most cases women will respond to aggression with flight if there is an opportunity. Men, on the other hand, with tend to respond with "fight". It is a gender difference that is as old as evolution, and has been extremely well-documented.

I think driving is a privilege. If you (the general you) are unable to abide by the rules of the road (for whatever reason - exhausted, confused, blind, drunk, ignorant etc) then don't get behind the wheel. One of the most basic of rules is that if you even see a cop motioning in your direction you stop your damn car. To do otherwise is not only to endanger your life, but also the lives of the officers and bystanders who may encounter you. Its no joke out there.

It was 1am, with flashing lights that would ruin anyone's night vision. The assertion that she could see the cop motioning is frankly absurd. There are no street lights on the I-15, and there's no way she could have seen any motioning unless the cop pulled right up beside her and stuck his hand out the window, which it is unlikely he'd do since he states that he thought he was dealing with some dangerous criminals.

This was a misunderstanding because of cultural difference in how police signal people to pull over. It doesn't require you to hate or vilify the driver.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The more I read about this driver, the less sorry I feel for her. The person I feel the most sorry for is the seven year old child that was forced by his parents to sit in the back of a car in what could have been a fatal situation.

The woman had no legal license to drive in Utah or anywhere in the US.

The woman was driving late at night in an unfamiliar area in an unfamiliar country.

She was driving under the minimun speed limit (which is posted, I checked).

She was driving erratically, weaving around the highway.

Upon seeing flashing lights, this illegally driving woman does the exacty opposite of what a driver should do in Japan. She does not move over to the shoulder and stay there until the vehicle with the sirens and lights pass, she speeds up and continues to drive for 11 kilometers. These are unthinkable actions in any country that I know of, including and especially Japan.

If other cars had been stopped along the shoulder when she was driving at speeds of 127 kph and weaving around the road, she could have killed herself, her family and the occupants of the other vehicle.

She should really have been arrested on a number of charges, including endangering a minor. I truly hope they have learned their lesson.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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