Island will make the switch from the right next month
26 August 2009

The small Pacific island of Samoa will become the first country since Ghana in 1974 to switch from driving on the right hand side of the road to the left on 7 September.

Many Samoan ex-pats reside in nearby Australia and New Zealand, both of which drive on the left.

The Samoan prime minister claims it would be easier for the country to import cars and would even help the country avoid the effects a tsunami, although this is not backed up with any evidence.

Islanders against the move have set up a group called People Against Switching Sides (PASS). It claims that 14,000 of the island’s 18,000 cars are designed for driving on the right and buses will have to be reengineered to change their door access.

The prime minister responded to these claims by saying: “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”

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Comments
5

26 August 2009

[quote Autocar]The small Pacific island of Samoa will become the first country since Ghana in 1974 to switch from driving on the right hand side of the road to the left on 7 September.
[/quote]

This is not correct. Ghana switched from driving on the left to driving on the right in 1974. As a former British colony, people in Ghana drove on the left prior to 1974.

26 August 2009

[quote etaricone]

[quote Autocar]The small Pacific island of Samoa will become the first country since Ghana in 1974 to switch from driving on the right hand side of the road to the left on 7 September.
[/quote]

This is not correct. Ghana switched from driving on the left to driving on the right in 1974. As a former British colony, people in Ghana drove on the left prior to 1974.

[/quote]At least half the facts were correct then. About par for the course these days at Autocar.

PaulJ

26 August 2009

[quote Autocar]The Samoan prime minister claims it would be easier for the country to import cars and would even help the country avoid the effects a tsunami, although this is not backed up with any evidence.
[/quote]

Erm What ? tsuanmi ?

Ok which autocar jurno went out for a liquid lunch today.

26 August 2009

Surely the switch will create more problems than it solves?

5 September 2009

There are plans to buy up left hand drive cars in Samoa and export them to the Russian far east, where many cars are right hand drive being used imports from Japan. - http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=39322

East Timor changed from right to left when Indonesia took over in 1976, and still does as an independent country. Okinawa in Japan changed from right to left in 1978, six years after the US returned it to Japan. However, many European cars in Japan are left hand drive - even British ones like Jaguars and Minis!

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