Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This doesn't exist in Jordan: Safety and emissions tests

Sometimes here in Jordan I realize that something very commonplace in America just doesn't exist here. This happened once when I was sitting in traffic while driving home from work one day. I realized that vehicle and safety emissions tests do not exist in Jordan. (Most of my epiphanies happen whilst sitting in traffic, but coincidentally this one was actually driving-related.)

Since 2008, I have had to register my car twice - first in DC and then when I moved to Virginia. Both were horrible experiences, mainly due to my driver's side window which would not reliably go up and down on demand, resulting in trips back and forth between the mechanic and inspection stations. If the DMV existed in the 14th century, Dante would surely have included it as one of the rings of hell. If I were in Jordan however, I would have never had these issues, because as far as I can tell, any and all vehicles are acceptable for driving here.

In DC/Virginia and other U.S. states, vehicles must meet certain safety and emissions standards to be considered road-worthy. No so here in Jordan! I see vans without brake and taillights, trucks trailed by sooty fumes, and clunkers that look like they will crumble into 1,000 pieces at the next sudden stop. The public surveece buses are some of the worst offenders - chugging out thick, black smoke so bad you need to close your windows then clean your windshield. I even saw a taxi once with no trunk - he must've been rear-ended because the back was folded up like an accordion - but he was just going about his business, picking up passengers.

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