A STUDY by the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) has uncovered an alarming trait about drivers in one of Asia’s most developed nations: They don’t stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
According to Japan Times, in the survey conducted between Aug 15 and Sept 1, the federation found that less than 10 percent of drivers waited for pedestrians to pass.
The report quoting the findings presented on Fuji TV said the study was done at 94 pedestrian walkways without traffic lights nationwide.
It said of the 10,026 vehicles observed, only 757 stopped at the crossing for pedestrians, which represents a mere total of 7.6 percent.
The remaining 92.4 percent reportedly zipped through.
Quoting the JAF, Japan Times said in response to the findings, local authorities will increase efforts to “educate drivers to always stop for pedestrians at crosswalks” by incorporating this message into future road safety campaigns.
According to a document on pedestrian crossings by Japan’s Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data (Itarda), Article 38 of the Road Traffic Law spells out safety provisions that focus on protecting and prioritizing pedestrians at these crossings.
It says the law stipulates that a driver in Japan is obliged to take safety precautions at pedestrian crossings, regardless of the presence of pedestrians or traffic lights.
For example, the law states that when a vehicle approaches a crossing and the driver does not know if a pedestrian is crossing or is about to cross, the driver still has to proceed “at a speed allowing you to stop immediately before the crossing if necessary”.
In the same situation, if a pedestrian is about to cross, the driver must “make a temporary stop immediately before the pedestrian crossing”.
The driver is only allowed to drive through the crossing if it can be reasonably ascertained that there are no pedestrians at the crossing.
Itarda also revealed that of the 7,627 pedestrians killed between 2008 and 2012, 67.9 percent was due to violations of duty to drive safely, while 14 percent was due to obstruction of crossing pedestrian. The remaining few accidents were due to violation of duty to proceed safely at intersections (6 percent); tailgating (4.3 percent); violation of speed limit (3.4 percent); ignoring traffic signals (1.6 percent); and other reasons.