On 3 September 2017, a celebration was held in Stockholm to commemorate 50 years since the left-side driving changed to right-side driving. At 4:30 am cars were parked on the left side and at 5 am they changed to the right side.
Old cars, buses and other old vehicles gathered on the street Kungsgatan in central Stockholm. Motormännens Riksförbund (M) was one of the participating organisations. A car that was used by the Association during the campaign in 1967, was once again on the road. People gathered from all over town and enjoyed the nostalgic celebration.
In the beginning of the 50’s the number of fatal traffic accidents increased. A referendum was held in 1955, on whether Sweden was going to change from left- to right-side driving. M argued that road safety would benefit from changing side, partly due to the inconvenience of having the steering wheel on the left side, and partly as an adaption to international traffic.
The change took place on Sunday 3 September 1967 at 5 am after a successful information campaign. All forms of media were used; newspapers, radio, posters, flyers and TV. The Swedish Automobile Association even published a book” Driving on the right side”.
All traffic stopped on September 3, 1967 at 1 am. A radio programme aired all night, and one of the guests was the Minister of Transport, Olof Palme. At 5 am bicycles, taxis, buses and trams changed side of the road. All other traffic had to wait until 6 am.
Road safety was much improved in Sweden. During September and October 1967, the number of fatal accidents were diminished by half compared to the same period in 1966.
Photo credit: Jan Collsiöö