The Armenian government will ban the import and sales of right-hand drive cars from April 1 this year due to concerns with the increasing number of RHD vehicles hitting local streets.
Xinhua Net reports that roughly 13,000 right-hand drive vehicles were imported into the country last year, bringing the total number of right-hand drive cars on local streets up to 36,000. This comes despite the fact that Armenia drives on the right side of the road and traditionally uses left-hand drive vehicles.
Authorities have expressed fears that if the current trend towards right-hand drive vehicles continues, the country could be forced to shift to driving on the left side, a change which would be very costly and difficult to achieve. Additionally, the Ministry of Transport, Communication, and Information Technologies (MTCIT) claims that right-hand drive vehicles are dangerous.
Most of the right-hand drive vehicles hitting local streets are being imported from Japan due to their cheap prices and good looks.
Shortly after the announcement was made in December, protestors gathered outside the MTCIT claiming that right-hand drive vehicles are no less safe than their left-hand drive counterparts and are in fact responsible for very few road accidents.
The ban will affect vehicles imported after April 1. Those brought into the country before then will still be allowed on local roads.