Drivers and Vehicle Services

Right-Hand-Drive Vehicles

Imported right-hand-drive vehicles were never built for or intended to be driven on North American roads. Therefore, they may have equipment and parts that pose a danger to the driver, passengers, and the public. To ensure the safety of the travelling public, a number of modifications may have to be made to the right-hand-drive vehicle before it can be allowed to operate legally on NWT roads and highways. For example, headlights that tilted toward the ditch in Japan would now tilt toward an oncoming driver, and they must be replaced. 



Before you decide to purchase an imported right-hand drive vehicle, you should be aware of a number of factors that may affect your decision. Not asking the right questions could result in substantial costs and delays for you. For example, parts for right-hand drive vehicles may be difficult to find, and may have to be ordered directly from the manufacturer in the country in which the vehicle was manufactured.  Even if you can order the parts in Canada, it can take months for them to arrive. Many dealers are not interested in servicing imported vehicles or taking them in trade for a North American built left-hand-drive vehicle.

You should also be aware that right-hand-drive vehicles require changes in the way you perform ordinary driving operations. The risk of being involved in a collision with a right-hand-drive vehicle is 40% higher. This may be because it is far more difficult to perform simple driving functions such as passing (you have to go further into the left lane to see whether it is safe to pass) or left turns (you must allow the vehicle ahead of you to clear the intersection before you have a clear view of your path). 

You may have been informed that right-hand-drive vehicles that are imported into Canada can automatically be driven on provincial and territorial highways. That is not the case. The moment the vehicle is to be driven on a public highway, it becomes subject to provincial and territorial legislation. Transport Canada makes this clear in this statement: " It should be noted that the Provinces/Territories have the authority to establish their respective registration (plating) requirements for these vehicles, consistent with the level of risk they may pose to the travelling public."




If you intend to drive your vehicle on NWT highways, you must register it. This can be done at any Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office. As of August 18, 2008, all imported right-hand-drive vehicles in the NWT must be inspected before they can be registered. These inspections are performed by Highway Traffic Officers in Yellowknife, Hay River, and Inuvik, at no cost to the owner.

To set up an appointment for an inspection, please contact the Highway Traffic Officer(s) nearest you:

Hay River 867-984-3291
Inuvik 867-777-7283
Yellowknife 867-767-9088 (extension 31182)

All right-hand-drive vehicles, including those that have already been registered, must undergo the inspection process, and their vehicle registrations will not be renewed until they have done so.


If the vehicle passes inspection, you will receive a form signed by the Highway Traffic Officer confirming that you are permitted to register your vehicle or to renew your registration.

If the vehicle does not pass inspection, you will receive a form detailing any modification work that must be completed. The mechanic of your choice may do the modifications; however, it is recommended that you contact the original equipment manufacturer for proper parts. You are responsible for having this work completed, at your cost, prior to your next inspection.