Photo/Illutration Police cars and helicopter prepare to monitor roads in Aichi Prefecture as part of a crackdown on tailgating drivers. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A crackdown on tailgating resulted in almost double the number of ticketed violations in 2018, according to the National Police Agency.

The issue garnered broad public attention following a road rage incident in June 2017 on the Tomei Expressway that led to a couple being killed in front of their children.

The 26-year-old driver responsible was found guilty of dangerous driving resulting in death and injury and handed an 18-year prison sentence.

The incident prompted the NPA in January 2018 to instruct all police departments nationwide to be more vigilant in such matters.

Because there is no provision in the Road Traffic Law on tailgating, police have focused on whether drivers keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

Ticketed violations in 2018 totaled 13,025 cases, a 1.8-fold increase from the previous year.

In 2013, there were a similar number of violations, but the figure decreased in subsequent years before the sharp increase last year.

The NPA said 91 percent of the violations last year, or 11,793 cases, occurred on expressways.

Police not only used cars and motorcycles to monitor driving behavior but also kept an eye out from helicopters.

In especially egregious cases recorded on dashcams, Criminal Code provisions have been applied so that harsher punishments can be meted out.

There were 25 cases of reckless driving resulting in death or injury with the objective of interfering with other drivers, 24 cases of physical assault and four involving injury.

A July 2018 road rage incident in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, resulted in a 40-year-old motorist found guilty of murdering a motorcyclist by intentionally rear-ending the motorcycle. The man was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

A record 42 drivers had their licenses suspended by local public safety commissions for egregious tailgating that led to threats to and injury of the other driver as well as damage to vehicles.