Government to study new safety measures for go-kart drivers in wake of MariCar crashes

JIJI, Staff Report

The government moved one step closer Tuesday to cracking down on go-kart services on public roads.

One well-known service is the Tokyo-based MariCar, which is popular among tourists donning costumes that look similar to Nintendo game characters such as Super Mario.

Transport minister Keiichi Ishii told a news conference after the day’s Cabinet meeting that his ministry, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police Department, will look harder into details about how accidents occurred involving the go-karts.

MariCar Inc. and other businesses rent out go-karts that have been modified to run on public roads. Under current laws, drivers have no obligation to wear helmets or use seat belts.

Based on further investigation, the transport ministry will begin discussions on strengthening safety measures for the vehicles, Ishii said.

Last month, a tourist driving a MariCar hit a parked car in Minato Ward. On March 5, another tourist driving a MariCar ran onto the sidewalk and into the wall of a police box near Tokyo Tower.