6 Feb 2008

Drive policy changes worry Samoa car rental companies

2:21 pm on 6 February 2008

Members of Samoa's Car Rental Association say they are still trying to figure out what to do with hundreds of unwanted left hand drive cars if they became obsolete.

The importation of right hand drive vehicles has been endorsed to begin this month, and the government now has plans to change the side of the road people drive on to accommodate these cars.

The Association president, Roy Lee, says this poses a huge problem for the industry.

He says not only do businesses still have to buy a whole new fleet of right hand drive cars, they have to first get rid of the old cars, which is not only problematic, but also costly.

"We'll just have to change. We can't afford to rent these cars to our overseas clients - when we know very well its a big risk. We can't send them away to American Samoa because they don't comply with US safety standards regarding the importing vehicles. We could possibly send them to Vanuatu. But apart from that, we're not quite sure."

Roy Lee says relicensing and retraining will also be needed to accommodate any road rule changes in the interest of public safety.