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No. of traffic accident deaths in Tokyo soars in October

26 Comments

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department plans to form a special panel to come up with measures to reduce the number of deaths due to traffic accidents after a rise in fatalities in October.

The death toll from traffic accidents in Tokyo reached 25 in October -- exceeding all other prefectures in Japan, TV Asahi reported.

The panel will consist of directors from police station traffic divisions around the city. Senior spokesman Koichi Hirota told a news conference Saturday, "The current state of automobile-related deaths is truly in a state of crisis. We need to work to put a stop to this recent trend."

Hirota outlined a plan to boost the number of patrol officers within the metropolitan area. He said the panel will also look at ways to enforce the wearing of seatbelts, particularly among back seat passengers in cars.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it hopes to keep the number of automobile accident victims in the city below 150 each year.

© Japan Today

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26 Comments
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Should also be looking at ways to enforce the wearing of belts for children in the front seats as well as the back seats. I just cannot believe the huge amount of kids I see jumping around in cars both in the front and back of cars. Parents are always wearing a belt so why do they think its ok for the kids not to! My car does not move until everyone is wearing a belt...its so simple.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Pumpkin, that's easy enough to say. The same thing happened in Canada until they decided to have the police actually crack down on that, and it'll continue to happen here until the police do something about it. All the commercials about how wearing a seatbelt can save your life did very little. It was the fine that got people buckling up all the time.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The mascots and posters didn't work?!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Please fasten your seat belts. Children are more likely to be seriously or even fatally injured in minor accidents. Children have a higher center of gravity than adults and in collisions they tend to become airborne, usually head first.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Everyone should be properly belted in specially children and they should be in child seats if young.

Red light rule should be enforced.

Texting and driving needs to be clamped down on as does reading manga or newspapers while behind the wheel.

Trucks need to be specially targeted for the obnoxious driving behaviour, watching TV, tail gating, speeding, sitting in the right lane when not actual doing the speed limit or passing any one, carrying dangerously loaded trucks or over weight, having curtains in the cabs blocking side vision,

Then crack down on cyclists who think they can take on a motor vehicle or just wobble out in the lane of traffic with out looking.

I am sure if all these things were enforced as they should be you could drop the road toll by a surprising amount.

Now get to it you do not need a committee, special panel, board, group or other BS to figure it out surely.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How about pulling over to the side of the road when an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance appears. I seldom if at all have seen that happen here in Japan. Is it a law? Anyone know?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

try going without a seat belt in Australia, front or back seat, police there have eyes like hawks, road safety blitz are common practice and is probably why Australia has one of the least fatalities per capita of any country in the world. It was drilled into my head to wear a seat belt everytime I got into a car, that was 30+ years ago. Japan needs a hell of a lot more road safety commercials and safety blitz on the roads. it has been proven to reduce road deaths/accidents in the UK Australia and NZ

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It's all nice and dandy to increase the number of patrol officers but they actually have to wake up and start " enforcing" the traffic laws instead of just standing on a corner or sitting in a patrol car. I've lost count of the number of times I have seen cops turn a blind eye at traffic offenses being committed right in front of them, be it people talking or texting on their smartphones while driving,little kids without seatbelts jumping on the front passenger seats, cars running red lights etc etc...seems like majority of traffic cops don't wanna be bothered with paperwork here.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@kitzrow

How about pulling over to the side of the road when an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance appears

I don't know if it's a law but I certainly DO do it - even though, very often, cars behind the ambulance think I'm parked there and won't let me out again !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seat belts, kids, police, sort it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

after17:00 is the most dangerous time due to darkness setting in and chintzy Asian drivers not turning on their headlights

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The total number says very little, but a breakdown in terms of how they died is more informative.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I would have to say that at minimum I have witnessed 3 fatal accidents in the last 1-2 months, all three were for excessive speeding or failure to control speed, I witness red light runners everyday and police are just sitting in their cars and do nothing. I have seen 1 bicycle fatal accident that the motorist failed to control his speed, and the cyclist failed to have his light on his bike on, a common thing in Japan. On the other hand I have seen an increase of the police cranking down on seatbelt violators but the speeders and red light runners continue. I see many motorcycle drivers smoking and driving at the same time, earphones on yet the police do nothing to them. The list goes on and on but unfortunately it will only get worst. The bicyclist will continue to smoke and talk on their phones, the motorists will continue to run red lights and speed, forget about moving for an ambulance, that it will take a major class action lawsuit across Japan by a group or groups that combine into one powerful group to make a change.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Death rate per 100,000: USA 13.9, Australia 6.8, UK 4.8 & Japan 3.8 - Japan being the 4th safest country in the world.

http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/road-traffic-accidents/by-country/

1 ( +3 / -2 )

By the way JT, off topic, but what is it with the 'African Speaking Sales manager' position being advertised at right? I didn't know 'African' was a language and some may find that listing insensitive.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Stewart - those figures you have cited - whilst accurate - are cold comfort to the families of innocent traffic accident victims. Much, much more could and should be done here to save more lives - and I'd start with installing red-light cameras at every intersection. Hit the many red-light runners with very big fines - and points losses - and we will quickly see a drop in accident figures. Many speed cameras on local roads would also be helpful.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ways to enforce seatbelts, yes. As a 30-yr vet of Japan and driving, the biggest problem is drivers treating speed limits as suggestions and bicycle riders as myopic lemmings. Both drivers and riders treat their vehicles as extensions of their living rooms. My home and my car are not the same. In a country where they can't deal with smoking, don't expect this issue to change fast.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think one of the biggest problems is the keystone are sitting in their kobans & they WAIT until something has ALREADY happened & then they venture out!

If the keystone were out & about in their cars more would be a vast improvement. I mean any traffic light with steady traffic will have cars running reds almost every time it changes to red! Although one thing I have noticed once I started driving here & that's that the yellow lights are often VERY short in duration, but event still TONS of cars run reds!

Hell every time I see a light changing IALWAYS look to see whats behind me because you can easily get rear ended while stopping for a red light in Japan, you don't have to just worry about whats up ahead & off the right or left, you MUST watch your behind, especially since tail gating is a national sport here!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Highly populated area+narrow streets/roads+speeding= accident deaths. Police can't do much about the first two, but the third can be decreased by enforcement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Stewart the problem with that stat is its flawed, UK US and Australia all have higher driving rates per capita than Japan and they each driver drive on average a lot more than the average Japanese driver. most privately owned vehicles in Japan are driven less than 10,000km a year. vehicles in the US Australia etc are driven well over 15,000km per annum. more driving = higher risk/exposure. if you could calculate the number of accidents per km driven I would say Japan would fair a lot worse.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

wtfjapan

@Stewart the problem with that stat is its flawed, UK US and Australia all have higher driving rates per capita than Japan and they each driver drive on average a lot more than the average Japanese driver. most privately owned vehicles in Japan are driven less than 10,000km a year. vehicles in the US Australia etc are driven well over 15,000km per annum. more driving = higher risk/exposure. if you could calculate the number of accidents per km driven I would say Japan would fair a lot worse.

So if road accident deaths doubled, it would be good as long as driven kms tripled? Not buying it, the goal is to reduce the number of deaths in absolute terms, or per capita to have less people die each year in traffic accidents. The safest km is the km not traveled, so if the Japanese drive less, that is a good thing.

paulinusa

Highly populated area+narrow streets/roads+speeding= accident deaths. Police can't do much about the first two, but the third can be decreased by enforcement.

Yet you look at the data and areas with low density and large roads in the US, Canada and Australia have much, much more accident deaths than Japan. The narrow streets and high population density do not lead to accident deaths, they prevent them, they do so largely by making driving uncomfortable and encouraging people to walk, bike and use transit, all much safer forms of travel once you remove the likelihood of being killed by a car driver.

To all those who spoke of seatbelts, that is what is called a "windshield perspective", a bias to view the world only from the point of view of car users. It's important to know who are these victims. If most of them are pedestrians or cyclists hit by cars, "safety blitzes" to make sure car drivers and passengers wear seatbelts are completely useless. Seatbelts have no safety benefits for pedestrians and cyclists, if they are hit by cars, the fact that the car occupants buckled or not is irrelevant to them.

Depending on where accidents occur, the ways they can be reduced differ.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Stewart - "discouraging car use" with dangerous roads only works in parts of the country where car use is optional. Outside of Tokyo, where public transit rapidly deteriorates, it quickly becomes necessary to drive a car.

@Bura - installing red-light cameras would be helpful, yes, but... every intersection? Only if it's coupled with a plan to reduce the sales tax with the money the government sees coming in. Of course, the tax would have to go up to put that amount of cameras out there...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Before coming here, I had the naive impression that the Japanese were good drivers.

Now I know...

Enforcement here is way to lax. How can a driver get away with running a red light in front of a Koban when pedestrians get yelled at? Where I live, they painted bike lanes. Great. Unless the fact that the weekend warriors and those minivan blue-collars frequently use this as some sort of makeshift parking space (gotta get those konbini cigarettes, always!). I have seen those useless coppers just roll on by on their mamacharis, no action, no fine, not even a damn word.

Come on.

Get some real police who have the balls and interest to actually enforce what is the law and maybe then, you'll see some results. Japanese only take real action when being shamed into it or being publicly outed and there's a great opportunity right there.

Start small. Once every week, set up some checkpoint to see if bicyclists follow traffic rules (they don't). Then fine the sh!t out of these people. Next week, move the checkpoint to another location. Repeat.

A good idea is also to combine this with information as to why people need to obey traffic rules. People need to be taught this, especially here in Japan.

Then, as this improves, you start moving up to bigger vehicles, finally ending up controlling the pest of Japanese motorists - the truck drivers. These clowns need to be held to a higher standard since they supposedly are professional drivers. If they are company employees, the company will have to bear the heaviest part of the fine for hiring useless, inconsiderate and poorly educated clowns, driving their 10-ton ramrods at high speeds on narrow roads.

If these things were to happen, you might get results.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@kchoze no but if your comparing which country has safer drivers then a km/fatalities is the most accurate. ive experienced many different countires driving habbits and apart from China, Japanese driver are bad. and with the increasing number of elderly on the road (who many whom shouldnt be) this higher risk group will only add to the accident rate

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How many of those deaths were related to smoking "legal" drugs? I can recall watching / reading about 3 such incidents involving fatalities within the last month.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@kchoze no but if your comparing which country has safer drivers then a km/fatalities is the most accurate. ive experienced many different countires driving habbits and apart from China, Japanese driver are bad. and with the increasing number of elderly on the road (who many whom shouldnt be) this higher risk group will only add to the accident rate

That is not an accurate metric. North American drivers for instance drive plenty of miles every day on grade-separated highways built to travel at high speeds with minimal risk and they are always given plenty of space to maneuver. Of course the amount of accidents per distance is going to be low.

From my own point of view, Japanese drivers are exceptionally safe overall, though I mainly saw this from a pedestrian's perspective. When I was in Japan, it was frequent to be shocked by how drivers would respect my right-of-way as a pedestrian, for example when crossing wide intersections, drivers would generally wait for me to cross before starting their turns, even when they would have had plenty of time to make their maneuver in front of me. In Canada, drivers in the same situation would judge they had the time to turn in front of me and would do so (which can cause problems when the next driver follows the first vehicle and turns also, creating a stream of cars in front of me).

I guess it goes to show, the world's worst drivers are always the drivers back home... no matter what home is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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