RTL-Day Minus 12: Why Not?
As promised, today some arguments about why it might be a bad idea to switch sides for driving in Samoa.
1. An Australian engineering expert, Professor Thomas Triggs of Monash University, told the court on Thursday he predicted more accidents and road deaths if the change goes ahead.
He feared mostly for pedestrians, who were very likely to forget which direction to look when crossing the road. "Habit is extraordinarily difficult to change," Prof Trigg said.
2. It was also "extremely concerning" that most Samoa cars are US-style left-hand-drives.
Drivers will not only have poor visibility from the outsides of the road but their headlights will be dangerously misaimed into oncoming traffic. Headlights would need to be replaced, a costly process for the nation.
Lesa said PASS witnesses giving evidence had been heavily critical of the failure to consult publicly or carry out a feasibility study on the move. "There's a lot of talk of the whole thing being ridiculous and crazy," he told AAP.
3. For car owners, the switch is also expected to drive the value of their vehicles off a cliff, since about 14,000 of the country's 18,000 vehicles are designed to drive on the right. Although such cars will be allowed after the changeover, they are likely to become less desirable.
"To be really quite frank, we find [the change] ridiculous," says Sina Retzlaff-Lima, whose Apia Rentals rental-car company has 40 cars made for driving on the right side of the road.
4. 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 (by using a blow torch or power saw) to change their door access.