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Kyoto Pref. Police set up online form for reporting road-rage incidents amid law revisions

An image of a poster promoting regulations and legal penalties against road-rage driving is seen in the western Japan city of Kyoto's Kamigyo Ward on June 19, 2020. (Mainichi/Norikazu Chiba)

KYOTO -- Kyoto Prefectural Police released a special submission form on their website on June 30 for residents to report cases of tailgating and other forms of road-rage driving, after law revisions that specified penalties for a new category of "obstructive driving" were enacted the same day.

Police in the prefecture are calling for residents in Kyoto to provide various information, including videos and images of driving that poses threats, which will be used in investigations.

Under the revised Road Traffic Act, a total of 10 types of traffic-violation acts, such as failing to maintain the necessary distance between vehicles and suddenly applying the brakes, qualify as "obstructive driving," which is the new category given to road-rage that blocks the movement and passage of other vehicles.

By the end of May this year, 294 cases of such traffic violations had been confirmed within the prefecture, according to Kyoto Prefectural Police. They said there were four cases involving arrests, where suspects were charged with assault as no traffic accident occurred.

The revised traffic law for road-rage driving incidents stipulates that offenders can be imprisoned with forced labor for up to three years, or face a fine of up to 500,000 yen. Offenders can be imprisoned with forced labor for up to five years, or slapped with a fine of up to 1 million yen, in cases including ones where a driver causes another vehicle to come to a stop on an expressway. The enforcement ordinance for implementing the revised law, which has been enacted simultaneously, specifies that road-rage acts by cyclists also fall under the category of "dangerous acts," which include ignoring traffic lights and drunk driving.

Kyoto Prefectural Police's traffic planning division commented, "We would like for residents to provide information using the submission form if they witness road-rage driving, and put it to use during investigations. If you encounter a case of road-rage driving, please call the 110 emergency number immediately without getting out of the car unprepared."

(Japanese original by Norikazu Chiba, Kyoto Bureau)

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