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Elderly couple die after being hit by truck on crossing

21 Comments

A man and a woman in their 70s died after they were hit by a truck while crossing a street in Yashio, Saitama Prefecture, on Tuesday.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 6:20 a.m. on a two-lane street. NTV reported that the couple were on a crossing with no traffic lights when they were hit by the two-ton truck coming from the left.

They were taken to hospital with extensive injuries but were pronounced dead upon arrival.

The 58-year-old truck driver was quoted by police as saying he didn't see anyone on the crossing until it was too late.

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21 Comments
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As a westerner, if there's one thing I've noticed about Japanese drivers on those terribly narrow streets it's their speed. It seems that caution for pedestrians is an unknown or unrespected concept. The frequency of stories like this in JT should be enough proof for automatic charges of driving without due care and attention to any driver that hits a pedestrian. I hate to say guilty until proven innocent, but I've almost been hit in a controlled crossing when I've had the walk signal, more than once. As an almost deaf person, that scares the hell out of me.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

my friend's daughter got hit by a car turning left last Sat. She was also crossing the road when the car made the turn without even slowing down. What is wrong with these drivers? POLICE are the problem. They will stop a foreigner with a bicycle while they trun a blind eye on these driving offenses.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I agree with you TrevorPeace1. Drivers tend to be too familiar with their routes that they become careless. Hope there will be no more of this over the holodays.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's a grave offense especially if you hit someone on a crossing (crosswalk) here in Japan. Driving in japan requires patience, care and a full understanding of traffic laws, which are made to protect all people, including yourself. Japanese pedestrians often 'leap before they look" into Japan's crowded streets.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"he didn’t see anyone on the crossing until it was too late" I wonder if he was texting.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My guess is the truck driver was

a) reading manga,

b) texting, or

c) dozing off.

The police need to have a blitz on these truckers here, and re educate them all on driving as some of them are the most dangerous drivers you could see anywhere in the world and have little regard for the safety of others.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Since we're speculating without evidence as to why the driver hit these people, I will just add my fantasy by saying:

Maybe the couple were wearing dark clothes on a dark street and moved slowly as befits many elderly people on this planet. Thus, the driver didn't see them until it was too late to avoid them.

Which raises the question, does Japan have a phrase like "At night wear white"? Obviously not or high school uniforms wouldn't be black.

Sad for the family to lose grandma and grandpa just before New Year's and sad for the driver who will probably lose his job. No winners here at all.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Pedestrian crossings are gamble zones in Japan. I can't count the amount of times I've nearly been cleaned up on one. I've had cars swerve and go around me while I was on the crossing. It's a bloody disgrace! Maybe some of remember you had to cover your brakes when approaching a crossing to get your license. It's pretty easy to understand why they teach little kids to run across the road in Japan. I don't think its a matter of the drivers being careless. It is just total irresponsibility and they just don't care about anybody else on the roads. The cops do their little blitzes and hand out warnings with a pack of tissues and a childish little cartoon character explaining bad mannered driving is a bad thing. It's quite pathetic really!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Who knows who's to blame without the full details, but I don't think the traffic system in Japan helps much. Traffic being allowed to turn while the light is also green for pedestrians is just asking for trouble. It's impossible to keep your eyes on rapid oncoming traffic waiting for a suitable gap while simultaneously keeping a good watch on possible pedestrians crossing the road to your right, from behind. It should at least be only possible to turn left, not right, and better not that either.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are some interesting opinions here. "They may have wore dark clothes". At 6:30 am, the sun is up there and the visibility perfect (I was actually driving this morning at 6:30). "They may have leaped before looking". Kinda difficult for two 70 years old to leap into traffic, and nevertheless, the pedestrians always have the right of way at crossings. "Traffic being allowed to turn while the light is also green for pedestrians". Well, this was a crossing without traffic lights. And I don't know where Disillusioned lives, but I've never been in any danger of being hit at a crossing in my 15 years in Japan (nor have had any accident, walking, on bicycle, riding almost daily my motorcycle to work and recently driving). You must be doing something that attracts the aggressive drivers mate.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

timeon,

I wold have to agree with Dis when it comes to quality of Japanese driving. In central Tokyo, traffic is pretty bad. What scare me most is that many people seem very insecure when driving. Truck drivers in general drive way too fast, and way to shaky for my liking. A big part of the problem is a apathetic police. I understand traffic duty is not the most glamorous part of policing, but the attitude should lean more toward preventing accidents that the reactive path they are on now.

You must be doing something that attracts the aggressive drivers mate.

Yeah, that's probably it. :/

0 ( +3 / -3 )

As a pedestrian uses of those narrow roads daily I has to say that on the whole Japanese are rotten drivers. They never stop when you are crossing the street, unless you happen to hold out an umbrella or something. They speed on those narrow roads. When the bell sounds at the railroad crossings they speed up.

And truck drivers are the absolute worst of the worst. On highways they cut in front of you or tailgate you. They too speed at crossings. The truck driver who claims he did not see anyone until it was too late will no doubt make himself into the victim of the old couple he ran down.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

they were hit by the two-ton truck coming from the left.

Does this mean the truck was turning left or coming towards them from the left-hand side?

If it was turning left ask yourself this: How many times have you seen drivers turning left but only looking to their right? Loads and loads of drivers that I see on the roads make that mistake. As well, as a pedestrian, you have to be responsible for your own safety. You should not ever assume that I driver sees you unless you want to end up in an accident. Don't get me wrong, I'm not speculating on this case specifically but more what I generally see on the roads every day.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm always astonished at people who don't look before they move.

Always be observant when you're in your car and the lights turn green. Somebody might still be crossing - pedestiran, bicycle, car, etc. Just because it's your "right" to move forward, common sense is more important. Check both ways first, and check when approaching intersections also.

Be aware of pedestrians. As stated above, a lot of people wear black. Black hair, clothes and sometimes bicycle, they are responsible for their own safety but you will be blamed if you hit them, at least to an extent. Some pedestrians don't follow the "always check" rule and suddenly cross too. Even at a crossing in daylight, this is dangerous. Make eye contact and ensure cars are stopping before you cross.

Agreed, the police should make peope more aware that crossings are not for decoration. This included fining them.

Also, pedestrians/cyclists should be fined when they fail to check before crossing, and also doing so at night without a light or refective clothing etc.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

timeon

As I said I was making no comment on this particular case. What followed was purely a general statement about driving. In this case though the problem from what I described is that people are used to crossing while traffic is also turning, but with not even any lights crossing right next to a crossroads or T-junction is certainly not advisable. In my home country I would never do it, I would move further down the road and just wait for a suitable gap in the traffic, not having to worry about cars turning who obviously can't look in 2 places at once. It's a blatantly dangerous situation that could easily be avoided.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, but this is definitely a case of negligence, any way you slice it, and the guy needs to be locked up and made an example of. TOO MANY TIMES we read about this -- and I'm sure there are many more where accidents occur that we don't read about it. Every day I walk or ride to work on the tiny sidewalk, where there is one (and I'm on the road if riding), massive trucks pass me that are barreling down the road much faster than the speed limit. When I reach the smaller streets near my work place, vehicles from cars to bicycles whip around corners, going into opposite lanes (bicycles often in them to begin with), and without looking, be it left turns or right. I got hit by a little kid on a bike just the other day for this reason, and while I first asked him if he was okay despite ME getting hurt, I asked him what would have happened if I had been in a car and not on foot, and to please slow down and check the road before turning.

RIP to these seniors.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Small pedestrian crossings here in Japan can be a lottery at times. In this case things were exacerbated by the fact the light was poor and there were no traffic lights to direct the elderly couple to cross safely. This in no way mitigates the fact that the truck driver should have been more vigilant and stopped.

It also never ceases to amaze how very few drivers stop at pedestrian crossings that aren't controlled by traffic lights despite the law requiring them to do so. It boils down to the fact that a large majority of drivers, and for that matter cyclists, just don't want to stop unless they really have to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it is NO use painting a crossing on the roads in Japan if you don't put up traffic lights. Most cars do NOT stop for pedestrians. Even with traffic lights, most cars turning won't stop for pedestrians unless the driver knows not stopping will kill the pedestrian. This is all from experience.

375sensei: You've said it correctly. I just don't understand, does it hurt drivers to just stop for 3 seconds? Even with traffic lights, I just don't cross until I know the driver will stop.

I've also seen drivers ignore speed humps, but it's not my car they'll be damaging.

It would help if cyclists in Japan use lights in the dark too. I bought a back light from the 100 yen shop and the batteries have lasted 3 years so far. I also carry a mini flash light for those dark streets when walking - it doubles as a light for my bike too, in addition to the solar powered one attached to the bike.

The fact is, if the police do nothing, people here will do anything if they know they can get away with it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's well recorded that the passenger side of a truck has a huge blind spot, and I was delighted that a truck I hired recently had a loud left-turn warning (though these seem still rare) activated by the indicator stalk.

Given that bicycles must now (finally) keep left, it's high time that we reviewed the situation where pedestrians must compete with left-turning traffic.

Thirty seconds of pedestrian priority in each signal phase ain't going to bankrupt the country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even if these two had sprinted on to the crossing waving their walking sticks around their heads and yelling "I gotta deathwish comin`" - THE DRIVER SHOULD STILL HAVE STOPPED. It is impossible to miss a crossing if you are actually looking where you are going. Impossible to kill someone if you are turning left at a cautious speed. They were on the crossing FFS. The only way he could not have seen them is if he wasnt looking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It just seems so pointless having a crossing without any lights what so ever. The one outside my office is a death trap, especially when it's dark, there aren't even any warning lights for drivers. If a car does slow for you, you then have to be careful of scooters whizzing straight past the stopped car and cars on the other side that don't stop when you're half way across. As someone that got hit by a car when i was a little boy (entirely my fault though) it is not an experience I would want to go through again, or indeed anyone else!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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