Road Safety

Rental Car Accidents Involving Foreign Drivers Surge at Fuji Five Lakes, Prompting Safety Measures

Main image to the post Rental Car Accidents Involving Foreign Drivers Surge at Fuji Five Lakes, Prompting Safety Measures

Accidents Involving Foreign Drivers in Rental Cars Surge at Fuji Five Lakes

The scenic Fuji Five Lakes region at the foot of Mt. Fuji has witnessed a concerning rise in accidents involving foreign drivers in rental cars. Last year, the area saw a staggering 417 accidents, a ninefold increase compared to the previous year. This year, 212 accidents have already been reported between January and March, raising concerns among residents and authorities.

The Fujiyoshida Police Station, responsible for the area, has taken proactive measures to address the issue. They have distributed English-language flyers to car rental stores, urging caution and highlighting essential traffic rules. Additionally, they have provided information on emergency contact numbers, such as 110, in case of an accident.

Analysis of accidents involving rental cars between January 2019 and March 2024 revealed that approximately 70% were single-vehicle incidents, with drivers hitting fences or other structures. Collisions accounted for the remaining 30%. The police attribute these accidents to a lack of familiarity with the local driving environment and emphasize the importance of adhering to Japanese traffic rules and driving responsibly.

Car rental companies are also playing their part in promoting safe driving practices. J-net Rental & Lease Co.'s Fujisan-Ekimae store provides multilingual pamphlets explaining road signs, traffic rules, and driving precautions. Toyota Rent-A-Lease Yamanashi Co.'s store near Kawaguchiko Station has seen a surge in foreign customers, with accidents involving them occurring almost five times a week. These accidents often involve scraping curbs or other objects while turning, likely due to differences in steering wheel positions and traffic divisions compared to their home countries.

The store manager, Wataru Oi, emphasizes the importance of informing foreign visitors about the increase in accidents and urging them to be cautious. He hopes that by raising awareness and promoting safe driving practices, visitors can enjoy their trips to the Fuji Five Lakes region without incident.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09