I am very concerned about the alarmingly high number of traffic violations in Kanagawa Prefecture. What is more alarming to me is that the violations seem to have become a normal part of life here:

1) Illegal parking continues to be a big problem. Many cars and trucks park in and block the inner lanes of major streets. The agents contracted to replace the police in dealing with parking violations are nowhere to be seen, which makes me wonder where all that money is going.

2) Car and truck drivers make right or U-turns, even if they have to run their vehicles over a median and across two or three busy lanes.

3) Running red lights seems to have become a national sport. Everybody does it, whether it is a private vehicle, a company delivery truck, a taxi or even a city bus. I have personally witnessed early morning and late night drivers going through red lights as if they were not even there.

4) Speeding is the violation most out of control. I think that the police try their best to tackle this issue, but unfortunately they intercept only personal cars, scooters and motorcycles. They forget the biggest culprits: taxi, truck and city bus drivers who, in the name of customer satisfaction or efficiency, or simply because they are under the constraint of a time schedule, don’t hesitate to take enormous risks even when driving through residential areas.

I urge the Kanagawa police to take a hard look at the problem of traffic violations in the prefecture. Consistent checks need to be urgently implemented before it is too late. Just because statistics indicate a reduction of traffic accidents does not mean that violations are down. Violations are up and so are “near misses.” The situation is bad and scary.

andre colomas

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