• Kyodo News


The Diet has enacted a law to institute another set of penalties for drivers who cause car accidents that result in death.

Accident victims had asked for the new legislation, which will cover cases that may fall short of the extreme cases outlined in Penal Code revisions made in 2001.

Under the 2001 revisions, the maximum prison sentence for a driver causing death was raised to 20 years from five years.

However, the courts have rarely handed out the maximum sentence because of the tough criteria, including proof that the driver deliberately ignored a traffic signal, or whose driving was affected by alcohol or drugs.

The latest revisions provide a maximum prison term of seven years for cases that don’t meet criteria for the 20-year sentence. Motorcycle accidents are mentioned for the first time.

The Diet is also expected to approve in this session a bill to amend the Road Traffic Law to include tougher penalties for drunken drivers.

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