Many Lebanese bribe their way onto the road.
Byline: Andrew Wander
Summary: When Nassim, a 26-year-old electronic engineering graduate from Beirut Beirut (bārt`), Arab. Bayrut, Fr. Beyrouth, city (1996 est. pop. 1,200,000), W Lebanon, capital of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Lebanon Mts. , was offered a job soon after leaving university he was delighted. His hard work at college had paid off, and he could finally put all he had learned into practice. There was just one problem. His new employers required him to drive, but he did not hold a license and had never driven a car.
BEIRUT: When Nassim, a 26-year-old electronic engineering graduate from Beirut, was offered a job soon after leaving university he was delighted. His hard work at college had paid off, and he could finally put all he had learned into practice. There was just one problem. His new employers required him to drive, but he did not hold a license and had never driven a car.
Taking his father's advice, Nassim - who did not wish to give his surname SURNAME. A name which is added to the christian name, and which, in modern times, have become family names.
2. They are called surnames, because originally they were written over the name in judicial writings and contracts. - signed up for a driving course with an instructor. When he was asked if he wanted to pay extra for a "guaranteed" license, he was slightly surprised, but politely po·lite
adj. po·lit·er, po·lit·est
1. Marked by or showing consideration for others, tact, and observance of accepted social usage.
2. Refined; elegant: polite society. turned down the offer, instead agreeing to pay a fixed fee for a block of lessons with a test included.E[sz]
Three days after his first lesson, Nassim left the school with a new driving license. His family say they were "astonished a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. ." They couldn't understand how he had passed so quickly. When they investigated, it turned out that the driving school had paid a bribe BRIBE, crim. law. The gift or promise, which is accepted, of some advantage, as the inducement for some illegal act or omission; or of some illegal emolument, as a consideration, for preferring one person to another, in the performance of a legal act. to examiners to have Nassim pass his test.
As far as the instructors were concerned everyone was a winner. They got their money, Nassim got his license and the examiner got his bribe.
There was just one problem. Nassim still couldn't drive a car. He was forced to return to the school after passing his "test" to take the driving lessons he had paid for. It took another three weeks of tuition For tuition fees in the United Kingdom, see .
Tuition means instruction, teaching or a fee charged for educational instruction especially at a formal institution of learning or by a private tutor usually in the form of one-to-one tuition. before he felt safe enough to venture onto the roads.
Nassim's story is one of thousands that demonstrate the endemic endemic /en·dem·ic/ (en-dem´ik) present or usually prevalent in a population at all times.
1. corruption in Lebanon's driving licensing system, which campaigners say is making millions of illicit Not permitted or allowed; prohibited; unlawful; as an illicit trade; illicit intercourse.
ILLICIT. What is unlawful what is forbidden by the law. Vide Unlawful.
2. dollars every year and putting unsafe drivers on the roads. A health and safety watchdog, the Youth Association for Social Awareness (YASA YASA Youth Association for Social Awareness (Lebanon)
YASA Yale African Students Association
YASA Youth Action for Social Advancement (Bangladesh)
YASA You Are Seated At
YASA Youth Alive South Africa ), is leading a campaign to reform laws in an effort to stamp out to put an end to by sudden and energetic action; to extinguish; as, to stamp out a rebellion s>.
See also: Stamp the illicit "selling" of driving licenses, which they say has made Lebanese driving tests "among the worst in the world."E[sz]
Under current laws a re-test costs around $100, far more than the $40 needed to bribe an examiner to ensure a pass. YASA says the high prices for driving tests are encouraging students to pay for "guaranteed" licenses, and they have suggested a new funding structure which would make re-tests much cheaper than bribes.
Even if there is no direct payment made by the learner driver, driving schools often pay bribes on their behalf, building in the cost of the corruption to the price of the course to ensure they maintain high pass rates. It is a policy which is putting hopelessly hope·less
1. Having no hope; despairing. See Synonyms at despondent.
2. Offering no hope; bleak.
4. Having no possibility of solution; impossible. inexperienced in·ex·pe·ri·ence
1. Lack of experience.
2. Lack of the knowledge gained from experience.
in drivers on Lebanon's roads, with YASA warning that some new drivers have passed their tests with less than two hours experience behind a wheel.
They say the corruption has become so widespread that it is now impossible to pass a driving test without paying a bribe. "The current 0-2 percent failure rate are the ones who don't pay the bribes," says YASA's founder, Ziad Akl. "Millions of dollars are collected by the mafias behind this. We are calling for a law that will increase the registration fee and decrease the test fee, with no overall increase in cost for the learner driver. The current laws no longer function."
Akl wants to see the introduction of a "points system" that would see repeatedly dangerous drivers banned from the roads. The new law would also introduce a medical examination into the driving test, and the license itself will be subject to renewal. But he warns that political figures who are gaining from the corruption were opposed to changing the law. "The corruption is spread through political parties. YASA faces huge pressure from those benefiting from it."
The dangers of allowing poorly trained drivers onto Lebanon's crowded roads are obvious. In 2007, 870 people were killed on Lebanon's roads, with a further 11,400 seriously injured in·jure
tr.v. in·jured, in·jur·ing, in·jures
1. To cause physical harm to; hurt.
2. To cause damage to; impair.
3. . The same year, YASA was able to obtain driving licenses for two blind men to demonstrate the total lack of screening applied to many driving test candidates. They even obtained a license for a girl who had died in a road accident - after she had been killed.
Hani Koubeissi, the director of the Driver Improvement Program at YASA says that corruption has a "serious impact"" on accident rates. "If everyone can just get behind a wheel and drive, then they are a big hazard Big Hazard, also known as Hazard Grande, is a hispanic street gang located in East Los Angeles. They have been dated back to the 1950's, when the gang was first started.
Their territory is roughly a mile to half mile in diameter. to themselves and others," he says. "Anyone can make a car move, but only a good driver can do it safely." He wants to see the new law adopted as quickly as possible.
Akl says Parliament will vote on the new law early next year. "It is in process, but there are political groups supporting the corruption. They don't want a new law. We have support from the Lebanese civil society, and we are counting a lot on justice. We are ready to work to reform the terrible situation in Lebanon."
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