Japan too has a problem with cars driving against traffic
Hans · Jan 7, 2021 02:49 PM
The problem of motorists riding/driving against traffic is not unique to Malaysia, although your Facebook feeds will give you that it’s a growing problem confined only to Malaysia.
Yesterday, a 35-year old man in Japan was killed when his Honda N-Box was hit head-on by a Toyota Crown driven by a 78-year old man who was driving against traffic.
The incident happened yesterday 6-January, at 12.40 am at the Nishimeihan Expressway in Yamatokōriyama city, in Nara prefecture.
The younger driver died on the scene while the elderly driver survived the crash and was admitted to hospital with head injuries.
The incident became a trending topic in Japan, as many Japanese felt sorry that a young innocent man at the prime of his life had his life cut short by the reckless act of a 78-year old who has lived twice as long as the young man.
Statistics by the MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) showed that incidences of wrong-way driving is a growing.
Based on published statistics for year 2011 until 2016, incidences of car crashes due to wrong-way driving have increased more than two-fold in five years, from 27 cases in 2011 to 57 cases in 2016.
In 2016, there were 7 fatalities caused by wrong-way driving, while 18 more people were injured, up from 6 in 2011.
The MLIT added that 67 percent of wrong-way driving cases involved drivers older than 65 years old, and 60 percent of the crashes happened in intersections or junctions.
In 2018, there was a very bizzare incident in Yokohama involving a 70-year old driver who continued driving even after his car (looks like a Toyota Carina or a Chaser) had collided with 7 other vehicles!
He kept driving at full throttle even after the front axle has snapped and there was no way he could steer the car any more.
The issue of accidents caused by impaired judgment of elderly drivers is a serious one for Japan, a country that is facing a social crisis of an aging population.
Although public transport is very efficient and widely available in the city, the same cannot be said for some more rural areas, which is populated mostly by elderly citizens who rely on cars to get around.
Without better solutions, the government is taking a soft stance of urging elderly drivers to voluntarily hand over their driving licenses, or putting a ‘Koreisha’ (elderly) sticker on their cars.
Solving the problem of mobility for elderly citizens is why companies like Toyota are working hard to roll out short driving range, electric powered driverless vehicles.
Closer to home, the recent incident of a Perodua Kelisa driving against traffic on the Kemuning Shah Alam Expressway (LKSA), crashing into two cars, also involved an elderly driver.
The Kelisa’s 73-year old driver was later arrested under Section 42 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for reckless driving.
Of course, there was also many instances involving intoxicated younger drivers. In the Malaysian context, males aged between 17 to 23 years old are still the most reckless group of motorist (Source: General Insurance Association of Malaysia, PIAM).
Yes, the distinction on males is necessary. Females of all age groups are generally safer drivers. There’s no arguing against motor insurance claims statistics.