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Taxi driver killed after taxi goes off road onto train tracks below in Tokyo

34 Comments

A taxi driver died Tuesday morning after his taxi went off an elevated road and fell onto the train tracks where it was hit by a train in Shinagawa on Monday night. Police identified the driver as 74-year-old Katsushi Kurihara. The lone passenger -- a 56-year-old man -- suffered broken arms, police said.

TBS reported that the accident took place just before 8 p.m. after the taxi careered off an overpass, through a fence and dropped over seven meters onto the JR Yokosuka Line tracks below near JR Nishi-Oi Station. The taxi was then hit by a passenger train carrying around 1,500 people. The taxi driver and the passenger were taken to hospital, but the driver died early Tuesday morning, police said.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the taxi driver failed to negotiate a curve, TBS quoted police as saying.

The Yokosuka Line was closed for around 4 1/2 hours, affecting 67,000 commuters, JR said. More than 1,500 passengers in the train that hit the taxi had to walk to the nearest station, TBS said.

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34 Comments
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Seems like Japan Today is becoming Japan Yesterday. This happened last night and has only just been published here now, almost 18 hours later!

Moderator: Considering that the driver only died this morning, I'd say we are up to date. Also, it takes time to translate stories and verify details. Please post something more pertinent next time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

74? And driving professionally? That ended disastrously. Flying leap (thank god) survived that, only to be hit by a train. Probably fine the passenger- who really started the day badly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a double bad luck. Flies off the road smack into the front of a big train. Ouch. RIP

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sorry ended the day badly

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sad the driver died, but I'm fixated on the idea of the passenger suffering dual broken arms. His life is going to be pretty difficult for the next few months.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Driver probably had a heart attack causing the car to veer off the roadway into the path of the train, he was doomed from the get go it seems. Unlucky for the passenger though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's why taxidriver's working hours should be regulated. He probably was working already over 12 hours when the accident happened. More will happen if nothing is being done about it. I can't understand why a country that cares so much about safety overlooks this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sorry about the driver, but dang that is ONE LUCKY PASSENGER. Reminds me of that guy in the US who got hit by a car once, then the ambulance taking him to the hospital gets hit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I heard that it is a 90 degree bend and the driver was not familiar with the road. Too fast? As for regulating the hours driven, actually they are, but clearly not enough. Although it looks like this driver was a "kojin" who normally only come out early evening onwards (majority) to pick up evening rush home (from bar, etc). Sad story, hope passenger pulls through OK.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These taxi companies are ruthless. This is NOT the drivers fault.

Taxi companies will employ anyone for the job. Even if they are in bad health. The taxi driver that hit me some years ago was handicapped. The taxi company was so ruthless that they actually rolled the taxi driver into the court room in a wheel-chair to claim that he was old and feeble and he couldn't remember the details that he told the police officer on the initial accident report.

This is an ugly accident and this taxi company is in HOT WATER. This article doesn't mention the taxi company's name but I wonder if it was Hinode taxi. They are very shady and most of their drivers are retired folk that are being overworked.

Again, I tell you, Japan's government is also to blame. Possibly on a small percentage this time but they definitely had a hand in this.

(OH GOD, There NetNinja goes again) Please don't tell us.

Why is a 74 year old man still working? Shouldn't he be out somewhere playing Shogi or Go with other men his age? He can't. That's the problem. The pension system, retirement, it's not enough. Especially for this country that jacks up the prices for everything (price fixing). So Oyaji has to go out there and drive. Imagine if the train had derailed and slammed head on into another train. Can you imagine how many injuries we'd be reading about?

Pressure to live => Greed by a taxi company = Train wreck All of which are, you guessed it, made in Japan.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@NetNinja As Gyouza said, it was a blue and white kojin taxi, NOT company owned but privately owned. In this case who knows what happened; driver simply was going too fast, had a medical problem of some kind, brakes failed (unlikely I know)? I have often talked to company taxi drivers who work 60 hours a week in 3 x 20 hour shifts - crazy but I don't know if that is illegal in Japan or not, it is in some other countries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

74? Average life-span for a man, I guess... shame he went out this way, though. Probably yet another 'retired' person working.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Quote: "the taxi careered off of (sic) an overpass and dropped over seven meters onto the JR Yokosuka Line tracks below..."

Surely there is a thick concrete wall there, no?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taxi companies are not to blame. If anything, the focus of attention should be directed towards the (lax) rules and regulations of taxi firms (especial the rules concerning elderly drivers i.e 60+).

The drivers should have annual full medicals to continually validate their license with an emphasis on sight, hearing, reaction and observational awareness tests . They should also have to pass a basic physical fitness test. The tests should be every 6 months for the over 65+

Actually, this should apply to ALL drivers over 60. I am not being ageist either, I just think the roads would be marginally safer if the proud old timers have to continually qualify to hold a license..

0 ( +2 / -2 )

tokyokawasaki

Actually, this should apply to ALL drivers over 60. I am not being ageist either, I just think the roads would be marginally safer if the proud old timers have to continually qualify to hold a license..

More accidents involving young drivers, so maybe that would apply to the under 25's too then?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Foxie ye said I can't understand why a country that cares so much about safety overlooks this.

It's because mostly Japan DOESN'T care about safety at all. Just the APPEARANCE of being safe. as long as they seem to care, they don't ACTUALLY have to make sure things are in fact, safe....

5 ( +10 / -6 )

Ah, the wisdom of the young. Insurance company statistics suggest the exact opposite.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

75 probably been paying into a pension scam for 50 years, where did his pension go?, an off shore account?, politicians back pockets? irony would be it was spent on roads and safety barriers or town/road engineers. Worked to death. Taxed to death.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

why, on an over pass so high, is the railing not strong enough to prevent a car from going through it ?? another incident of negligence .

1 ( +2 / -1 )

crustpunker - You've got it spot on there. Nail hit firmly on the head.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

crazy

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There were no skid marks, according to police. Reminds me of the "kamikaze" taxis of the 1950's. The average age of a taxi driver in Japan is 57.5. The average pay for a taxi driver is 220,000 YEN a month. The retirement age for privately owned taxis is 75.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's because mostly Japan DOESN'T care about safety at all. Just the APPEARANCE of being safe. as long as they seem to care, they don't ACTUALLY have to make sure things are in fact, safe....

Crustpunker, you said it!

In Japan, it doesn't much matter what goes on behind the scenes as long as it looks alright from the outside. Didn't Fukushima teach us this?

I don't know the road where this happened personally, but I do think it extremely odd that there is no protective wall on a curve such as this where a car can fall 7 meters to a railway track.

It's very difficult to make rules about retiring ages for taxi drivers and how many hours they should or shouldn't work because individuals vary greatly. But, surely, roads like this should have safety barriers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That is one lucky passenger! Crashed with a train and only broken arms?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I do not know the state of the 75 year old taxi drivers health or how competant he was to drive, so I will omit commenting So many other factors to be investigated in an accident, weather conditions,the maintainance and functioning of the vehicle. and the road condition. Rules are slow down before a bend, accelerate on the arc, reduce speed according to road and weather conditions and ensure a regular full service of the vehicle is adhered to. All that said it is so sad the driver died and my condolences to his family, to the passenger a quick and full recovery

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yeah, go ahead and make the retirement age 80.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

drivers over the age of 70 should be retested every year especially if they're professional drivers

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Taxi drivers over 70 get tested every year, before that they have tests once every 5 years. They have health checks every year and lectures once a year.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

First crashing through a gate, going over the road, and luckily surviving the resulting fall and crash, only to then get hit by a speeding train. Sounds like something out of a Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoon. Totally bad luck.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Way too old to be a taxi driver! Time to change the laws in Japan ASAP! RIP who ever died.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

speedo taxi drivers da da daa dangerous

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ohh bad news

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taxis should stick on that 'senior driver sticker' for such drivers...so passengers could decide whether to use it or not. As much as I feel sad for this driver, I think it's very much a meiwaku to have someone his age driving taxis around.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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