Plans to change from driving on the right to the left meet stiff opposition
18 August 2009

Plans to switch to driving on the left side of the road rather than right have met with stiff opposition in Samoa.

The switch is scheduled to go ahead on 7 September and was instigated by prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele, who wants to put an end to the import of more costly left-hand drive cars, and especially inefficient American vehicles.

Sailele also hopes that the 250,000 Samoans living in Australia and New Zealand, where people drive on the left, will send cars home.

However, he has faced massive opposition to his plans, to the extent that a new political party was set up last year to challenge his plans and some villages have threatened to blockade any cars travelling through them on the right side of the road.

Dr Biopapa Annandale, chairwoman of People Against Switching Sides (Pass), said: 'People will die as a result of this."

A legal challenge to the change is due to be heard this week.

Previous examples of countries switching from the right to the left side of the road include Iceland in 1968 and Sweden in 1967.

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