3 Japanese students killed, 5 injured in California car crash

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  • 12

    John Hyde

    I live two minutes away from there and the lights went out throughout the whole area. I thought it was just a San Diego Gas & Electric problem but I saw the news about the incident. I hope a speedy recovery for the students that survived and my condolences for the families of the students.

  • 21

    JeffLee

    8 adults in a coupe? That's complete idiocy.

  • 9

    yildiray

    Wonder how many of them had been drinking? It's a sad story, but 8 people in a car is asking for trouble!

  • -15

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Back in the USA I used to think Japanese were BAD drivers because they were suddenly driving on the OTHER side of the road (Japan is the same side as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc...) but now living here in Japan for many years, my biggest surprise is how terrible they also drive IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY! Seat belts?? Sure it is a law now in Japan too, but how many times do we see kids, babies etc..WITH NO SEAT BELTS here in Japan, and the parents smoking in the car with all of their kids, NO SEAT BELTS, kids sticking their heads and bodies OUT of the SUN ROOF etc..?? So I am not surprised by this kind of stupidity. RIP??

  • -1

    jerseyboy

    Regardless of the circumstances, three young people have lost their lives, and three families are grieving for their loved-ones. God bless them all during this terrible time.

  • 5

    turbotsat

    8 people in a little 2-door 5-seat Prelude is distracting enough, even if no drinking. Driver only 19, and probably new to USA. In California teen drivers under 18 have all sorts of restrictions, have to have 6 hours driving instruction plus 50 hours driving with an adult in front seat over 6 months until they can get a full license, no driving with passengers under 20 until driver holds full license for a year or turns 18, whichever comes first. But I believe those restrictions are magically dropped when driver turns 18, and wouldn't apply to a 19-year-old newly arrived to the country. Foreign driver license enough to drive here.

  • -6

    Mirai Hayashi

    Such a shame.

    BTW: sorry to be nit picky, but the article says that they were in a 2000 Honda "Prelude"? There is no such thing as a 2000 Honda Prelude. Prelude went out of production in 1997.

  • 1

    sensei258

    I bet they weren't even drinking. All that chatter, distraction, and loss of visibility due to overcrowding would have been enough to cause the accident.

  • 9

    Lord ludek

    Prelude Production ceased in 2001 according to Wikipedia

  • 4

    turbotsat

    @Mirai appears only a couple of models were sold in US, a lot built and sold in Japan, until 2001.

  • 3

    Mirai Hayashi

    Sorry..mistaken model year for production year....my bad

  • 9

    CrazyJoe

    You shouldn't carry more passengers than the number of seat belts installed.

  • 3

    dracpoo2

    RIP. This is sad. I don't know why they crammed into that car, they definitely wouldn't do that at home. Their families, their poor families.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Horrible tragedy, but one that was completely preventable. Packing that many people in a tiny car is a recipe for disaster, even IF the people who had seatbelts were wearing them -- and I doubt they were. I hope the five recover and think twice next time about this kind of thing. RIP to the three who died.

  • -1

    LBW2010

    They were idiots for driving with 8 people in a 5 seat car.

    It's also a shame that the U.S. is such a public transportation nightmare that foreign students are forced to drive everywhere they go. I know lots of foreign students who maybe know one person with a car and are always driving that car unsafely / overloaded and getting tons of tickets and getting into dangerous situations.

    When I studied abroad in England and and when I worked in Japan, I was also a moronic and largely incompetent youth. But I never had to risk my neck driving in a foreign country because the cities I lived in (and they weren't big cities) were walkable and had lots of public transportation.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...I pity ANY Japanese who come to the U.S.A with no experience and expect it to be as convenient as Japan.

  • 7

    toshiko

    RIP But 8 in one car? Isn;t it illegal in Calif? Seat Belt laws. I left Calif many years ago so I could be wrong but I am sure it is illegal to have 7 passengers in a small car.

  • 1

    Tessa

    So far the Japanese news reports say nothing about the car being a coupe, the overcrowding or the apparent lack of seatbelt usage.

  • 4

    onagagamo

    @Tessa - This is because concepts like "overcrowding" and "lack of seatbelt use" do not exist in Japan!

  • 6

    Educator60

    @dracpoo2 " I don't know why they crammed into that car, they definitely wouldn't do that at home. "

    While you may be right about these specific individuals (but how would you know?), similar accidents (too many, usually young, passengers in a car) can be seen on the news here from time to time.

    Just the other day wasn't there also a report of an accident involving three riders on one motorcycle on this site?

  • 2

    turbotsat

    toshiko: RIP But 8 in one car? Isn;t it illegal in Calif? Seat Belt laws. I left Calif many years ago so I could be wrong but I am sure it is illegal to have 7 passengers in a small car.

    All riders must wear seat belts in California where seatbelts exist, since 1986, except kids which need child car seats. Not allowed to double up on belts. Most school buses don't have any seatbelts except maybe for driver. Maybe older cars get a pass, I don't know. But not a 2000 car.

    Classes to start Monday. Kids all freshman, presumably new to US, maybe arrived this month. Maybe only one kid in their social group had a car (maybe shipped car from Japan to US as wikipedia indicates 2000 Prelude not sold in USA). I know Chinese here and mainland are very casual about seatbelt use, don't know about new Japanese.

    Was a similar accident in Bay Area several years ago. Monks from a local temple riding in a minivan, accident, none or almost none wearing seatbelts, some of them died, maybe seven or nine.

    http://www.ots.ca.gov/media_and_research/Campaigns/CIOT/default.asp

    The minimum ticket cost of an adult seat belt violation in California is $142 and up, and a minimum of $445 for not properly restraining a child under 16. If the parent is not in the car, the driver gets the ticket.

  • 2

    FPSRussia

    Totally illegal. Sad but these students weren't so bright. Common sense should tell you that you can't fit 8 ppl in a Honda Prelude. It's only suitable for 4

  • 2

    Ocgoodtimes

    Very sad, but what a total act of stupidity to stuff that many people in one car. How could the driver possibly been able to drive properly being crushed in by probably at least one person between the two front bucket seats.

  • 5

    Educator60

    Tessa "So far the Japanese news reports say nothing about the car being a coupe, the overcrowding or the apparent lack of seatbelt usage."

    from NHK online: "警察の担当者は「小さな車にかなり多くの人が乗っていたので、明らかにシートベルトを締めていなかった人もいただろう」と述べ、乗用車の定員より多くの人が乗っていたとみて、調べを進めていることを明らかにしました。"

    My rough translation: Police said "As there was a fairly large number of people riding in a small vehicle, it is clear that at least some of them were not wearing seatbelts." Also that it appears that there were more passengers than legally allowed and the circumstances are being investigated" Also that a consulate spokesperson stated that they could not release names and hometowns of the students as they had received permission from the families.

    Yahoo News in Japanese says the car could legally only carry four.

    As I was typing this the NHK TV news came on with basically the same as above.

  • -1

    Tessa

    @Educator60 Thank you for that. The time gap between international news reports and the local ones is a source of contention between my Japanese friends and me. Obviously I dislike being accused of lying or exaggerating, and they don't like being accused of being backwards or ill-informed.

    I feel very sad about the news, as they could just as well have been my own students. Remember being 19 and thinking you were immortal?

  • 1

    turbotsat

    go to images.google.com, search for 2000 honda prelude back seat, you'll see it's worse than thought.

    4 seats like FPSRussia and Educator60 said. 2 small seats in back separated by a small center console, 2 seats in front that fold forward to let people get in back.

    http://tinyurl.com/ol7srq5

    Google Images: 2000 honda prelude back seat

  • 3

    YongYang

    Seatbelts. Not worn and certainly not enough for 8 passengers in that vehicle. WHY is there a lack of seatbelt culture in Japan? WHY? I often see toddles in the front footwell, standing, peering out of the window... children roaming, even romping, round the inside of vehicles on the move. I just don't get it. Seatbelts SAVE lives. QED.

  • 2

    Educator60

    Correction: "as they had received " should have been "as they had not received"

    @Tessa, You are welcome. There may have been more examples but I didn't go looking for them. It's true there is often a time lag for news going in both directions because of the time difference, the time required for translation and such. Probably best not to discuss news until a few days after ;-)

    I was a widow at 20 so I got whatever ideas of immortality I had knocked out of me pretty early. But yes I also see my own students in these accidents and other incidents and it's very sad. This was only their first week of school, what a waste of young potential.

    @Turbotsat, Thanks for the image link. Really brings home just how crazy eight people in a car like that would be.

    I know how inconvenient the lack of public transport can be in those areas. Sometimes you just have to stay home, give up doing some fun thing, do your shopping online, etc.

  • 4

    inakaRob

    This makes no sense. I owned a Honda Prelude. That car is small for 2 people. The back seat isn't even really meant for people. There is ZERO room. Like many sports cars they simply put in "back seats" for classification purposes. Dead serious. I had 3 people in my prelude once and it was lunacy. He had to stretch out over the back. There is literately 3 inches of leg space. There is no way 8 people fit in a prelude.

  • 2

    darknuts

    Common sense should tell you that you can't fit 8 ppl in a Honda Prelude.

    Apparently you can. That must be some clown car.

  • 0

    kaimycahl

    @LBW2010 It's also a shame that the U.S. is such a public transportation nightmare that foreign students are forced to drive everywhere they go

    I'm sorry for the the students who lost their lives but don't blame the US because of what you call a public transportation nightmare. Not every city in the US is alike many cities have great transportation everybody who go abroad has choices the students made their choice California like many cities and state have seat belt laws so please don't place the blame on the country place the blame on those who made their choice which became a nightmare to us all. One thing students have to remember when they travel abroad follow the rules of that country and don't assume the laws from your country apply if you don't know ask someone!

  • 0

    WhirledPeas

    Terribly tragic. Condolences to family and friends of the students. I'm thinking organizations that sponsor foreign exchange programs should start discouraging foreign students from driving, especially when the student first arrives and especially if s/he is of an age where s/he is likely not to have had much driving experience. Of course, someone made the point that public transportation is not readily available in all cities, and that is true, but if schools are venturing more and more into recruiting foreign students (lucrative because of the higher out or state tuition), administrators need to be proactive about warning foreign students about the hazards of driving in the US, and perhaps offer alternatives. In Japan few 19 year even have their license. And in JPN you sit on the right and drive on the left. If you are not used to the American system it's easy to become confused. It's worse if you don't know English! I've been driving for decades, but I would not feel confident driving in Japan, England, or South Africa as a visitor. Also schools should do more to help foreign students avoid being a victim of crime (for e.g. that poort University of Southern California engineering student from China who was recently killed by street thugs).

  • 0

    SwissToni

    I'm with inakaRob on this, the Prelude was a 2+2 at best. I'm sorry for the loss of these young lives but it's easily possible to speculate they must have so packed themselves into the car it will have been nigh on impossible to steer.

  • 0

    Brian Wheway

    one thing that has pop up for me and its the issue of insurance, since the car was over crowded will they be insured? we all know what the insurance companies are like, any thing to cop out of paying up.

  • -2

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Brian, great question! If they did have any kind of California auto insurance, I am quite sure THEY WILL NOT get covered for breaking so many laws; like having way too many passengers, not using any seat belts, speeding and my guess, I hope that I am wrong but DRUGS and ALCOHOL, so many students, once they land in the USA think it is a free for all and some end up just like this, dead.

  • 6

    JeffLee

    "I pity ANY Japanese who come to the U.S.A with no experience and expect it to be as convenient as Japan."

    Having a car in the US is really convenient and fun. Half the fees/cost and red tape as in Japan, like the parking space requirement. The highways are free, you can travel flexibly whenever you want and without being restricted by schedules. You can go anyway and everywhere, not just places where trains or buses happen to run. That's what American freedom is all about, and why so many people all over the world fall in love with the American lifestyle.

    In Craigslist, you can get a decent runabout for $3,000 and sell it for a decent price when you leave. Unlike Japan, where cars become worthless after a few years.

    No 50km long highway traffic jams like in Japan, and the streets are wider and emptier.

    Mind you, sticking 8 people in a sports car is like an American coming to Japan and climbing on the roof of the Yamanote train while its moving. And then people like you complaining that Japan is dangerous. Safety and/or common sense are mandatory wherever you go.

  • 5

    darknuts

    @LBW2010 It's also a shame that the U.S. is such a public transportation nightmare that foreign students are forced to drive everywhere they go.

    They weren't in a city. They were on a state highway. America is Not small like Japan. You can't have public transportation wherever you go but there are buses that travel cross country.

  • 1

    zteano

    There's always an option to travel in the States. It just require a little more planning as it isn't frequent. And if there's no public transportation, there's always an option to call a cab which if you travel in numbers will be cheaper splitting the fare. These planning and travelling in groups could be fun and a good experience too. I just don't understand why they chose to be in discomfort cramming themselves as if they were in a rush hour train ride in Tokyo; it certainly isn't fun.

  • 1

    Taketomo

    Very sad. I feel awful for the parents and family of the deceased who must feel so far away right now and just want to be there. 8 people in a car is a bad idea for sure , but how many of us did things like this in our youth? I know I did. We don't need to be pointing out the obvious lack of safety , we need to take a moment and think of how these young lives are gone.

  • 0

    Ghost rider

    Power pole ? Thought they are used only in developing countries, as they are a safety risk in all aspects.

  • 1

    sf2k

    That sucks. When you go to school it's to improve yourself and do something. Condolences to the families.

    I wonder about the Prelude though, the back seats in a coupe' are generally nothing much, so how on earth they got 8 in that thing? Late at night, only one car, and too many need a ride. I can see it happening. What a loss

  • -1

    JTDanMan

    8 adults in a coupe? That's complete idiocy.

    That's college.

    Anyways, sad. I wonder if booze was involved. One thing I really, really, really like about Japan is you can get bombed and get home. The trains and the taxis will take you there.

  • 1

    Aldebaran

    My condolence to the family of the victims. May they rest in peace.

  • 0

    badsey3

    http://tinyurl.com/qxbsotk

    It looks like the car snapped a wood telephone pole that was replaced (and went into the ravine) = photos above do not match that.

  • 0

    NathalieB

    Grievance counsellors??!

  • 1

    kaimycahl

    @ Elbuda Mexicano

    Brian, great question! If they did have any kind of California auto insurance, I am quite sure THEY WILL NOT get covered for breaking so many laws; like having way too many passengers, not using any seat belts, speeding and my guess, I hope that I am wrong but DRUGS and ALCOHOL, so many students, once they land in the USA think it is a free for all and some end up just like this, dead.

    Many people from across the border from Mexico and South America they get cars break many laws drink and drive with. No Insurance and cause accident that kill many innocent american families and these people do this knowingly and think the USA is free I don't think in one instance any of those students in the car knowingly did anything you mentioned in your post and yes I can bet you your yearly salary none of the students were involved in drugs and alcohol. Why try to spin such a negative comment on such loss of the innocence if anything they were out to have a good time that just turned out to be tragic. The definition of an accident is an unplanned event again the outting may have been a planned event but I can bet the outcome wasn't

  • 0

    badsey3

    I can bet you your yearly salary none of the students were involved in drugs and alcohol. Why try to spin such a negative comment on such loss of the innocence if anything they were out to have a good time that just turned out to be tragic. The definition of an accident is an unplanned event again the outting may have been a planned event but I can bet the outcome wasn't

    From the pictures it doesn't seem alcohol or drugs were involved (both take $$$). More or less the car went off the road at a point, hit a telephone pole and rolled. With that sort of damage I am amazed that people came out of this alive, but the Honda Prelude is not the cheapest car out there either. Those side hits are the worst and this car was made before the side airbags.

    California Highway Patrol officers say before the incident, the students were at a beach in Oceanside for a student-organized event. Many had gotten there by Sprinter train, but since the service stopped at 10 p.m., some had no way to get back to Palomar Community College.

    http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/3-Die-in-Single-Vehicle-Fatal-Crash-on-State-Route-78-Oceanside-272291901.html

  • 0

    songwillem2011

    RIP

  • 1

    Educator60

    @badsey3, Thanks for that link, it had information the other articles I'd seen did not include.

    "Many had gotten there by Sprinter train, but since the service stopped at 10 p.m., some had no way to get back to Palomar Community "

    Having just arrived in the area and with the language barrier, I wonder whether the students knew they might have no way to get back at that hour before they went?

  • 0

    Droll Quarry

    Bottom line is the whole mess adds up to poor life choices for which three people paid with their lives.

  • 0

    chuichi

    RIP... many people have the same question on their minds though; how do you fit 8 people into a car meant for 2+2??

  • -1

    It"S ME

    Most cars are now 2+3.

    Said we used to drive in an Alberta GT from the IT school to our teachers company daily. We = 5 male adults plus 5 briefcases and computer printouts, etc.

    Can be done.

  • 1

    Abhorsenaube

    It is sad, but the kids are to blame here. 8 people in a tiny car is certainly not safe. I feel sorry for the families of those involved.

    BTW: sorry to be nit picky, but the article says that they were in a 2000 Honda "Prelude"? There is no such thing as a 2000 Honda Prelude. Prelude went out of production in 1997.<

    Honda Prelude was in production until 2001

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