All sorts of stories are going round town that, the Rwandan Government has at long last accepted to have back the famous or is it infamous “Right Hand Drive” (main gauche) vehicles to enter the country, this follows the minister’s pronouncement in which he said that, government was seriously looking at the return to the importation of the RHD (Right Hand Drive) vehicles and most probably, the changeover to driving on the other side of the road!
Notwithstanding that pronouncement, a lot of things have to be taken into consideration; will it be the only RHD vehicles to be re-allowed onto our roads or it will entail a total overhaul of the way we drive on our roads? If one or the other, how are we going to embrace these giganormous changes and related task?
According to the same New Times Newspaper article, the subject had reached advanced stages and that the proposal was on the Prime Minister’s desk.
To some of us who are international drivers, we are used to driving on either of the sides of the road. As long as the other road users do not inhibit our driving, we can easily switch sides in a blink of an eye. That said and done, what does the changeover from driving on the right side to driving on the left side take?
This calls for two elements to be transformed in preparation for the changes to come into effect. First and foremost, the human element that uses the roads and that is likely to be the greatest obstacle to a peaceful changeover. I am a strong supporter of the re-admission of the RHD vehicles to Rwanda.
First and foremost, this category of vehicles is readily available in as far as the low income vehicle owners are concerned. The Used vehicles’ market in Japan provides some of the best vehicles in the world; their vehicles are in very good condition and next to new.
As for the LHD vehicles, these are procured from Europe, the USA and Canada; these vehicles are not only very expensive but they are expensive to ship and take nearly forever to arrive, when they arrive, many of them have been overused and in bad shape.
Look around, 90% of the pre-owned vehicles imported into the country are the CARINA-E as compared to the one in five modest cars bearing the Burundian registration plates.
In all the Burundi registered vehicles, the Rwandan coffers must have lost the would have been revenue from the importation and registration of such vehicles. As a result of that, the control of such vehicles would have been easier than is the case now.
As we wait for the final assent on whether they should be admitted or not, we should begin preparing ourselves for the likely impact of a switchover, if it even occurs. I suppose, the Police should begin training the public on how to embrace the RHD and its associated effects.