Confused Japanese tourists trigger highway pursuit in southern Utah

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  • barkermom Hurricane, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    I don't think that it should be legal for Japanese tourist to drive a vehicle without a license! It sounds like the situation could have become seriously dangerous. Many Japanese people do not have licenses because they use public transportation and it is difficult to get a license there. That doesn't mean that it is ok for them to come here and drive!

  • Internduncan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    @Reasonable Person

    Not to sound picky but while the Japanese do drive on the left side of the road, in America we drive on the right. That and the steering wheeling is on the other side of the car compared to Japanese models.
    As for road signs in Japan, while there are english letters under most of the directions on their highway this in no way can let us assume that they speak English with any degree of fluency. If anything I think that with all that happened they might have forgot every single lesson they had in English in High School.
    I'm with ya on the license issue though. Someone at the rental agency, or whoever gave them that car, needs to be paid a little visit.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    I know a man who was almost killed in a semi accident caused by confused Japanese tourists. He is crippled for the rest of his life.
    These people are truly lucky to not have caused an accident.
    I don't find it funny at all.
    If you can't speak English, you don't know the laws, you can't read the road signs,and you don't even know what an officer is, stay off American roads!
    People work on the roads and "joy riding" even for tourists is wrong.

  • Evets Eagle Mountain, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    To funny...really. It brings back years of memories of driving in Asia. There were always a nice little lady going 20-30 km in a 50+ km zone. I also bet the lady could hardly see over the steering wheel too. Trying not to steriotype but I used to see this daily.

    I do hope they recover from the shock. I have to hand it to them for renting a car and driving themselves. All the Asias I met would book a tour because they were too afraid of driving in the US without a guide.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    Something's fishy here.

    First, they arrive from Japan on Friday and immediately rent a car.
    They were able to rent a car without even a Japanese driver's license?

    Then, they are unable to understand Arizona's traffic laws? The Japanese are used to English-language signs, they drive on the left like we do, and speed limits are comparable.

    What MAY have happened is that they missed the speed limit change, after going through the 35mph construction zone in the Virgin River Gorge.

    But still...someone had to have rented that car for them and turned them loose.

  • kimmie1224 Huntsville, AL
    Feb. 26, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    Two thoughts came to my mind when reading this:
    #1 so glad this happened in Utah, any other state and the couple might have been shot
    #2 so glad this happened in Utah, because where else can you pick up the phone and get someone to speak their native language:-)
    Kudo's to the officers who responded for taking the time to realize what was going on and for taking the patience to rectify the situation in a kindly manner.
    @Laurels in Sandy, UT…I also LOL'd

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    I agree With Dewey Boo. Some one with a car with those neat red and blue lights needs to visit the car rental agency and have a heart to heart talk with the counter help.

    Traumatic event emotionally? Yes. Could it have been worse? Yes. What if the slow moving vehicle was rear ended by some airhead texting and driving?

    If we have significant Japanese visitors, and other non English speaking visitors, maybe car rental agencies can pool resources to have a pamphlet in native languages covering the basics of driving in Utah.

    No, this is not a problem requiring state funds, if rental agencies are going to rent to people who can't communicate they shoulder the burden of responsibility for accidents and incidents.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    I can't tell you how many times I've had to translate for Japanese tourists whenever I visit Zion's or Bryce. I've actually had to carry a dehydrated elderly Japanese woman about a mile back down the trail from Arches. Too funny.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Talk about culture shock. Poor Japanese family.

  • DeweyBoo Ceming, NM
    Feb. 26, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    I wonder how they were able to rent a car to begin with. Most rental agencies I know will not rent to someone without a license from the United States.

  • Laurels Sandy, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    I admit it. I laughed out loud while I read this article. It read more like a scene in a movie comedy than real life.

    I hope these visitors can overcome the trauma they experienced, and enjoy the remainder of their visit. Hopefully they take some time and learn some of the U.S. traffic laws and customs so another experience like this doesn't happen again during their stay.