08 September, 2009

Historical Day for Samoan

Comparison of offside rear of Plaxton Paramoun...Image via Wikipedia

Today will be a historic day because it is the first country since 1970s to bring such a change. Drivers in Samoa in the South Pacific are preparing from driving on the right of the road to the left of the road after a rule change by the government. The switchover is due to start at 0550 on Monday (1650GMT), when radio messages will broadcast telling drivers to stop and to prepare to overturn 100 years of motoring tradition. Soon after that, a second instruction: to move from the right to the left side of the road. Critics of the plan claim that increase in road accident will occur due to the changes. Even bus drivers will have to let their passengers alight their buses in the middle of the road since the bus door will open on the wrong side of the road. To reduce the chaos, the government has declared two days of national holidays.
The changes are implemented so that Samoa will be joining other South Pacific nations for driving on the left of the road. In addition to that, the move is to reduce the dependent on the expensive left-hand import American cars. Historically, most of the countries switched from left-hand drive to right-hand drive of the road. Thus, there are about one third of the countries in the world have their vehicles driven on the left-hand side of the road.
I think it will be more expensive for the Samoan government to carry out infrastructural changes to all the road side furnitures such as bus stops, signages, etc. Also, additional costs are required to remove and then to repaint on the road markings for all categories of road in Samoa. For more stories refer to Samoan Cars Ready to Switch Side and Samoa Drivers Brace for Left Turn. As of the latest news, there seem to be a smooth transition for the historic swithching from right-hand to the left-hand side of the road.
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Frank said...

I watched news reports here in the U.S. about the changes in driving and found it hard to believe. They said it was so ex-patriots could come back with cars from left side countries. I still find it crazy to drive on the "wring" side of the road and wish every country would switch.

Great blog. Beautiful country. I'm glad you're Following Tampa Daily Photo and hope you will visit again soon and leave a comment for me.

Wan Hashim said...

Hi Frank, thank you for your comment, I really appreciate that. Just my opinion, if every county drive on the same side of the road, I think it will kind of boring sometime.

TommyQ said...

Samoa is the first country in 40 years to switch driving sides www.greatecs.com