On Driving in Minamiashigara Shi

To the people of Minamiashigara shi:

Is what you have to do so much more important than anyone else?
Is the place you have to drive to, so much more important than
another person? Do you always leave too late? Why not leave
earlier so you don`t have to drive so fast?

A little girl was killed at the crosswalk in Minamiashigara. She was
only four years old. An older gentleman saw her waiting at the
crosswalk but still didn`t stop.

I am from Vancouver, where we are trained to stop at the crosswalks
for everyone. The law is you stop.

You may be surprised to know, that the law in Japan is that you
should stop for pedestrians waiting at the crosswalk too. You
shouldn`t just do it when a policeman is there, you should do it
all the time.

Today I was driving my son to junior high school and predictably a
large silver van was almost touching the back of my van.
(Maybe he likes me so much?) He was in a hurry to get to work
or get somewhere? However is what he had to do really that important? So important that he has to drive that way, so close
to the car in front?

When I stopped to drop off my son, this van sped up and drove in the
right hand lane and went flying through the crosswalk where a small
child was waiting with his hand held high, hoping to cross the street.
Why didn`t you stop silver van driver?

Instead of driving like everyone else in Japan, a country where
10,000 people die in driving related accidents every year, why don`t
we show other cities in Japan, how to drive more safely? Why don`t
we actually follow the rules. Not just when the police are there,
but all the time.

Why don`t we respect the people, be they children, the elderly
or your neighbour waiting at the crosswalk and stop. It may
take 15 seconds out of your day. Is that so much to lose? You may
save someone`s life.

I have lived in Minamiashigara shi for about 20 years now. In that
time many have died due to car related accidents. You don`t need to
drive 30 kilometres over the speed limit to get to work. Sorry but
your life isn`t any more important than that child waiting at the
crosswalk you are speeding towards.

Slow down and stop! If anything, don`t do it for me. Do it for the
future of Japan, the children, and the past of Japan, your Elders.

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