National / Politics

LDP to begin discussing stricter penalties for road rage cases

JIJI

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will start discussing measures to fight road rage, with an eye toward imposing stricter penalties on reckless drivers, sources have said.

To crack down on such dangerous driving, the LDP is considering revising the road traffic law and the Penal Code, as well as creating a new law during an extraordinary Diet session expected to start in early October, the sources said Friday. The party’s special committee on traffic safety will launch discussions Tuesday, they added.

The party decided to combat road rage in response to a spate of serious cases.

Most recently, a man stopped another car traveling on the Joban Expressway in Ibaraki Prefecture, swerving in front of the car and eventually exiting and punching the driver in the face on Aug. 10, according to dashboard camera footage. The man and an accompanying woman were arrested after they fled the scene.

In 2017, a married couple were stopped by a reckless driver on the Tomei Expressway and died after being rear-ended by a truck.

In January last year, the National Police Agency instructed all prefectural police departments to employ all available means to crack down on tailgating and other forms of reckless driving.

As a result, the number of penalized drivers in the year jumped nearly twofold from 2017 to 13,000. Still, road rage cases have shown no signs of a decrease.

LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai urged the special committee to quickly hammer out effective measures including new legislation.

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