The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has announced that it will not allow the illegal conversion from right- to left-hand steering on vehicles at unlicenced garages, and has advised people who have right-hand drive vehicles to make the change at one of eight companies recognised by the ministry.
The announcement came after the ministry found that some garage owners who did not have a business licence had been converting the steering on vehicles. This violates the government’s 2008 sub-decree on the management of garage business for repairing and converting vehicles and the 2009 proclamation on the application form for such business.
“Converting a vehicle’s steering at unlicenced garages risks technical problems, which can make the car unsafe to drive and could cause accidents on the road,” it said.
The ministry identified the eight registered companies as Fuji Form; Lien Thong Investment Group; STP International (Cambodia); Seconimex; Sovann Yaun; Pasteur Meanchey; PRY Global; and Pav Kim Sreang.
Chhuon Vorn, head of the General Department of Land Transport, told The Post on December 30 that the ministry would allow the payment of import duties and taxes on existing right-hand drive vehicles for the last time by the end of June 2022.
“Those vehicles have to change the right-hand steering wheel to conform with Cambodia’s road traffic law. After the deadline, any right-hand drive vehicle caught on the roads will be dismantled or destroyed,” he warned.
Nuon Bunthet, director of Pasteur Meanchey which has received a licence to make conversions, told The Post on December 30 that many vehicle owners were now rushing to convert the steering, especially those registered with the police and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) number plates.
He added that when vehicle owners come to convert the steering wheel at a ministry-recognised location, such as his, they will receive quality assurance and a valid certificate.
“If owners go through a place with proper permission, they will receive a certificate of technical problems and a guarantee on materials. If there is a technical problem, our company will be responsible for it,” he said.
Kim Panha, director of Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP), said converting the steering on vehicles needs to include strict and serious inspection as it could pose a high risk to safety otherwise.
He urged relevant ministries and institutions to gather information from drivers and inspect garages to take action for incorrect steering conversions in accordance with technical standards and laws.
“I don’t think there are many right-hand drive vehicles these days due to the gradual and subsequent modifications. If any other garage owners want to provide this steering conversion service, they must ask for permission in advance.
“The ministry should continue to check the technical standards of the garage to ensure safety for drivers,” he said.
Panha also hopes that the ministry will take strict measures against right-hand drive vehicles by stopping their import and steering conversions after the deadline to stop opportunists from continuing the practice.