AFTER a visit to the driving license office, I have learnt that my (corrected) vision does not meet its standards.
The odd thing is that it turns out that only those with better than 20/20 vision are granted licences. Permit me to explain: after waiting for an hour-and-a-half (thanks to a power breakdown) for the so-called medical test, I was let into the medical examiner’s office and rather rudely told to sit ‘there’ — there being a chair approximately six metres from a ‘Tumbling E’ eye-test chart. Before I could look up, I was told to identify a ‘letter’ on the chart with one eye. This was on the third last line of the said chart. Now, as far as I know (and I’ve confirmed it too) the fourth-from-bottom line is the one that from a standard (usually six metres) distance is the one that anyone with 20/20 vision should be able to read. The letters below that require better than 20/20 acuity.
In most countries I have been, the visual acuity requirement for a driving licence ranges from 20/60 to 20/40. It is truly amazing that Pakistan maintains much higher standards than possibly does any country in the world. It is no wonder then that we have the safest roads in the world.
Further, the result of my test was not made clear to me until I inquired from a worker outside what the scribbling on the form meant. Just to add another twist to the drama, he told me that the problem would be rectified if I’d just visit the police hospital (I think) in a certain area of Karachi. Apparently, a better pair of glasses wouldn’t do the trick!
And so I am now unable to drive in Pakistan -- having driven all over the world for 20 years without so much as a scratch on my bumper! Would the relevant authorities please look into this madness?