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East Japan police unveil video in bid to stop notorious 'Ibaraki dash' driving violation

A still image from the awareness-raising video is seen. It says the "Ibaraki dash" is a violation of the traffic law and will be subject to a fine. (Image courtesy of Ibaraki Prefectural Police's general traffic affairs division)

MITO -- Ibaraki Prefectural Police released a video online on Dec. 1 urging drivers to stop the illegal "Ibaraki dash" -- when a car makes a right turn across oncoming traffic at an intersection just as the light turns green.

    This is apparently the first video officially pointing out that the Ibaraki dash violates the Road Traffic Act.

    According the prefectural police's general traffic affairs division, 55.2% of traffic accidents causing injury or death in the prefecture in 2020 occurred at or near intersections. Limited to accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles at intersections where traffic lights are installed, 78.9% occurred when cars were making a right turn, prompting the police division to warn people about the danger of the Ibaraki dash.

    The Road Traffic Act stipulates that vehicles driving straight have the right of way at intersections, followed by left-turning vehicles, then right-turning ones. The Ibaraki dash, in which a right-turning car ignores this rule, violates laws including one that prohibits obstructing the progress of other vehicles going straight or turning left. Violations can cost drivers 1 penalty point off their license and a fine of 6,000 yen (approx. $50). A representative at the division said, "We want drivers to be aware that this (the Ibaraki dash) is a violation of the law that can directly lead to an accident."

    The awareness-raising video was created jointly by the prefectural police and the Ibaraki branch of the General Insurance Association of Japan in time for winter, when the sun sets early and the number of traffic deaths increases. The video is also intended for elderly pedestrians, urging them to wear reflective gear and use crosswalks. According to police, 27 of 40 pedestrians who died in traffic accidents in the prefecture last year were elderly people.

    The video can be viewed on YouTube at (in Japanese) as well as via the prefectural police's website. It is also being screened at the local driver's license center and other locations.

    An official at the general traffic affairs division said, "All the data and warnings in the video are there for a reason. We want people to utilize the information in everyday life and driving to reduce the number of dangerous accidents."

    (Japanese original by Toru Morinaga, Mito Bureau)

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