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Registration of right-hand drive cars to be banned from 2016

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, December 4
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the registration of right-hand drive cars will be prohibited from 2016. The draft law was proposed by the Internal Ministry and approved during a government session on December 3. The project will be sent to Parliament for further discussion and approval.

According to the Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili, neither the import nor transit of right-hand cars will be banned. However, in case of importing right-hand drive vehicles, their owners will only be able to sell it in pieces. Mgebrishvili stressed that road safety is a major reason while initiating the new law.

“The imports of right-handed vehicles have reached 50% of cars in 2015. The number of such cars has critically increased, while the permitted number of right-hand cars in any European country is only 10% out of the whole number of vehicles on the road,” he stated.

As the Minister stated, individuals who already own right-hand cars will not face any kind of problems and will be permitted to keep using the vehicles.

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili approved the idea.

“Issues like this need to be solved. We have a catastrophic situation in the city. The environment and traffic jams must somehow be improved,” stated Garibashvili.

However, the draft law has opponents too. According to the Director of Eco Transport Center Vasil Urushadze, the initiated draft law is anti-constitutional.

“If Parliament approves this draft law, we will appeal it in court,” stated Urushadze.

Ani Mirotadze, a member of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) coalition, said that people must have a choice as to what kind of car they want to use.

“I myself drive a right-handed car and see no problem in this,” she said.

Giorgi Baramidze, a member of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, said that the approval of this draft law will affect society.

“Right-hand drive cars are much cheaper than left-handed cars. People who purchase such cars have no opportunity to buy expensive cars. Some of them may be affected because of this law,” he said.

Another problem that was raised during the government session was the air pollution problem in the capital city, which is due to the large amount of cars.

Minister of Environment Gigla Agulashvili also underlined the importance of high quality fuel. According to him, changes must be made and only high quality fuel should be imported into Georgia.

“We must meet the requirements that were given to us after signing the Association Agreement. Most of the cars in Tbilisi are old and our auto park needs urgently updating,” stated Agulashvili.