Spring traffic safety campaign begins nationwide


The Japanese government's annual spring nationwide traffic-safety campaign began on Monday. The traffic safety campaign, which runs until May 20, is held twice a year -- in spring and autumn.

This year, the spring campaign is focusing on promoting greater safety awareness among elderly drivers and children, in particular, urging parents to make sure they have child seats in cars and that their children wear seatbelts at all times.

According to the National Police Agency (NPA), as of May 7, the number of traffic fatalities nationwide stood at 1,368. Of those, 722 were aged 65 and older and 23 were children aged 15 and younger.

The campaign is also aimed at reducing the number of accidents involving cyclists.

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My annual request for the traffic cops is to please get those drivers who go through yellow and red lights at high speed. And get those drivers who insist on talking on their cell phones while trying to steer their vehicles. But, I guess, as usual, these traffic violators will be allowed to go on their merry way ...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And I guess that those drivers that drive at perfectly safe speeds on Japan's roads will continue to be hit hard in these campaigns.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Isn't it interesting that the safety campaign is at a time in the year when it's not too cold outside and not too hot.

Very comfortable.

I hope the police enjoy their nezumi tori games, trying to catch drivers going at 10km above the limit or using cell phones while driving.

Incidentally, how come it's OK to watch TV in a car, but not OK to talk on a cell phone?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nothing but window dressing. its been 15 years or so since Japan made child seats mandatory and the cops do nothing although they know between 30-40% of kids are not buckled in.

At 12:01am on May 21st, the police will pick up their traffic cones, and head off to an izakaya to celebrate doing their job for exactly 9 days.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It is illegal to watch the TV while driving. HB

0 ( +1 / -1 )

These campaigns are largely pointless. Rather than have a dozen old people in hi-vis jackets standing around intersections holding signs requesting that drivers slow down and passengers wear seatbelts etc, for a few days in May, may I suggest that they place hard hitting 'commercials' on TV, sandwiched between the most popular programs each night.

I saw a woman flying through an orange/red light in a huge people carrier this afternoon with 2 - yes 2 - young children standing up on the passenger seat and leaning forward on the dashboard.

This woman needs to see what will happen if her luck runs out.

Old people holding signs won't change this woman's behaviour. There's no excuse for not having some hard hitting, graphic, traffic safety announcements on TV.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sorry but my observations from my drive from Fukuoka to Kitakyushu tell a hellish and daunting story. Kids unstrapped hanging out windows, almost everybody atleast 20kms over the speed limit. Bikes real bikes are good. It the little inside moped that are the problem. Plus pedestrian not paying attention with no clue to the flow of the traffic including cyclists on the street coming from nowhere. My big issue is not with the people all over the speed limit by 30kms. Its with the kids not strapped in. We just kept counting them. This the real Japan. Why dont they strap the kids in.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Delighted to hear they're targeting parents who let their kids bounce around in cars, but how seriously?

Cue more traps for unsuspecting drivers violating archaic rules (disclosure: done last December for not stopping at a tomare sign).

BTW, whatever happened to the no cycling on the right law introduced with (zero) fanfare last January?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Steve Crichton,

Agree completely with your observations. One thing that I think would improve the roads here would be the introduction of roundabouts (rotaries). There are things called rotaries here that have traffic lights. A rotary should not have these. You HAVE to slow down at a rotary and you have to develop some kind of road sense or cars just plough into each other. Without traffic lights, there is no machinery to go wrong and you save energy because cars don't need to stop and start all the time.

With rotaries in place, life for our "boys in blue" in Spring would be the same as normal, and there wouldn't be any need for a "Safety Campaign."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

BertieWoosterMay. 11, 2015 - 11:26PM JST One thing that I think would improve the roads here would be the introduction of roundabouts (rotaries).

They built one in my town... the snag is that it is okay for kei-cars, but my sedan can only get around it if one of my wheels is on the roundabout and my car is tilting drunkenly at an angle.

In short, it is a tiny roundabout built in the middle of a tiny "two-lane" road (actually 1 1/2 lanes where cars slow down to avoid taking each other's wing-mirrors off as we pass).

Roundabouts may work in the big cities, but in the smaller towns that occupy MOST of Japan they're simply not practical without a complete re-design of the road.

And this is the big issue that traffic safety isn't addressing, that a lot of Japanese roads simply aren't safe because they weave between buildings making sudden turns because that's where someone's rice paddy was 100 years ago, and even when they are nice and straight modern roads they build trees along the side so you can't see the pedestrians.

If it is a choice between driving in the shade and killing someone I say, "Bring on the chainsaws!"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Don't miss those red light runners!

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Hollis-Brown has the most sensible solution, only wish the cops were really that interested in saving more lives than lining their pockets with nezumi-tori income.

As per usual, I will be slowing down at the same blind corners and straightaways where the porkies always setup shop. Making a complete stop where they always hide, and as per usual nothing will change in good ol' Japan.

This country seriously needs higher penalties for parents driving without properly strapping in their kids. I say match the penalty with drunk driving fines.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

722 were aged 65 and older

Well over half of fatalities were old people? Is that cause they are being run over by trucks or more because they are driving into walls themselves? If the latter that is damning evidence that old people should not drive at all. And by old I mean over 65.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

zurcroniumMay. 12, 2015 - 08:32AM JST

722 were aged 65 and older

Well over half of fatalities were old people? Is that cause they are being run over by trucks or more because they are driving into walls themselves? If the latter that is damning evidence that old people should not drive at all. And by old I mean over 65.

Or it could simply be that older people are a large portion of the population and that an injury that a younger healthy person would shrug off or recover from would be deadly to someone elderly with pre-existing health problems.

Or it could be that a larger percentage of elderly people are pedestrians - slow moving pedestrians who cannot dodge out of the way when Japanese drivers fail to respect pedestrian crossings. Almost daily I see old people waiting patiently at the side of the road by a pedestrian crossing as drivers zoom through without even slowing down.

The statistics support the conclusion that these are largely elderly pedestrians dying, and repeatedly studies have shown that elderly drivers are safer drivers than young drivers (elderly drivers of 80 to 84 have a lower chance of having an accident than a younger driver of 25 to 29 per vehicle mile traveled).

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For those of you who have not been in Japan long enough to know, a light is not legally Red until one mortorist and two taxis have gone through it. Or a group of Bozos

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Would it be too much to expect Japan to do something as sensible as install red light cameras at main intersections - and start fining those people who use their phones while cycling? Bikes are considered light vehicles, and therefore people aren't supposed to use them after drinking. (As with cars) Therefore the same rules about driving while using mobile phones should also apply. I'd say a 10,000 yen find would be appropriate.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am proud of mt Gold license too. I will say this though. Its hard to not speed to drive safely. Everybody wants 20 or 30 kms faster than the speed limit. I drive to the flow of the traffic and I drive to the conditions. I am Gold. I am proud of this.But you see my dilemma.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think that the driving speed limit is ridiculously low and that most drivers do not observe the given limits 60km normal limit though mostly 40 or indeed 30 in a lot of areas here in Hokkaido . if in actual fact they were to the nations GDP would fall a corresponding percentage . as for safety week or campaign again really only there to fill the coffers of the on duty traffic cops actually they just harass people that are driving like they do every day of the week . there are enough of places where people drive dangerously fast and no traffic cops to be seen. Have lived and driven here a long time so am quite used to the system" when in rome" and all that ! Funny also the traffic radar devices that you can use here in your car are illegal in most other countries I have driven in albeit mostly Europe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If so many elderly people are killed crossing roads, I wonder why they don't take the electric poles down and put the cables underground. Then at least drivers could see someone starting to cross.

And, for heaven's sake give up on the banchi/chome non-system. The only people who know where 2-chome is are the people who deliver in the area. It might be between 1-chome and 3-chome, but that would be by accident rather than planning.

If there were actual addresses, with street names and house numbers, you wouldn't get people kerb crawling, trying to find a tiny banchi/chome indicator on an electric pole buried between a laminated photocopy of someone's lost doggy.

The road system in Japan is appalling. It must have been designed by a visually challenged non-driver working in a dingy basement in Tokyo.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The road system in Japan is appalling. It must have been designed by a visually challenged non-driver working in a dingy basement in Tokyo.

True. It's usually necessary to get the person you are visiting to come out and find you. Back on topic, I hope they focus on what's more important

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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