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Owners of right-hand drive vehicles protest registration restrictions

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, December 8
Owners and dealers of right-hand cars held a rally against the possible prohibition of registering right-hand drive cars from 2016.

The draft law has already been elaborated and sent to Parliament for future discussions.

The slogan of the rally was “I am not dangerous.”

The Protesters stressed that Japanese cars are safe and they do not create any kind of threat to the environment, thus they must be permitted to move in the country without any restrictions.

The protesters demand a change in the decision over the issue from the government and gave them three days to reverse the motion.

“If the government does nothing about this issue, we will hold large-scale rallies,” they stated.

Deputy Interior Minister Archil Talakvadze addressed the protesters from his Facebook Page. He stated that the protesters were uninformed over the case.

"No one restricts drivers from using already-registered cars. The restrictions will apply to those who will buy such vehicles in the future, after the draft is confirmed.

“The import of right-hand vehicles has reached 50%; this is a big figure when our infrastructure is designed for left-hand drive vehicles,” Talakvadze said.

He called on the protesters to support the traffic safety program.

“It concerns not only the right-hand drive cars. We can save lots of lives and prevent many accidents,” stressed Talakvadze.

Changes in the law were initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). According to the Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili, neither imports nor transit will be banned. In case of importing right-hand drive vehicles, the owners can sell their vehicles as spare parts.

Mghebrishvili stressed that road safety is a major reason for initiating the draft.

“The import of right-handed vehicles has become 50% of the total number of imported vehicles as of 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,” stated Mghebrishvili.

He added that in case more right-hand drive vehicles appear on Georgian roads, there will need to be changes to the national infrastructure.