Getting a Driver's License at $4
Yeah, you heard me right. No, there wasn't any gimmick. I got my USA driver's license at a mere price of USD$4.
If I'm not wrong, different states in United States applies different sets of rules and regulations when it comes to matters dealing with motor vehicle. Nonetheless, I believe the basics are pretty much the same. In Virginia, in order to get a driving license, one would have to go through three tests: 1) vision screening; 2) two-part knowledge exam; and 3) road skills test. Vision screening is done simply by looking into a table-top machine and read out the lines of letters or numbers to the representative. Two-part knowledge exam is a test to examine an individual's knowledge of traffic signs, motor vehicle laws, and safe driving techniques. The exam questions are taken from information printed in the State's Drivers Manual. As stated, this knowledge exam comprises two parts. All ten traffic sign questions in Part One must be answered correctly before you can take the 25-question general knowledge exam in Part Two. You must score at least 80% on these questions to pass Part Two. As for the road skills test, one will have to demonstrate to the representative that he/she understands the theory fully, and is able to operate a vehicle safely without imposing risk to other drivers on the road.
The procedures to get a driver's license in Malaysia are rather different from US. Well, they're similar in a larger picture, but would vary greatly when it comes to details. If my memory serves me right, the vision screening that I'd been through in M'sia applied another approach. I remembered all the participants would have to form a long line and stood at a certain distance away from the Snellen chart. When it reached your turn, you'd read out the lines to the tester. The screening test would be held in a large hall. As for the knowledge exam, Malaysians would have to attend a five hours seminar to learn about the motor vehicle rules and regulations before one can sit for the knowledge exam. You would be given 25 questions and you cannot make more than 6 mistakes. 'On the road' tests are pretty much the same between the two countries, except you would have to bring your own car for the road test in US, whereas in Malaysia you would be tested by driving the cars provided by the authority. Since you would be driving the car you provided in US, the car can be an automatic transmission car, or stick-shift (manual). In Malaysia, however, you would only be given one choice, stick-shift, that is.
I said I got my driver's license for only four bucks because you don't have to pay any fees to be tested. Yes, there is no mandatory 5 hours automotive Undang-undang (Malay, meaning law) class for one to sleep-through; the driver's manual is FOC; you pay nothing for the vision screening, the knowledge exam, and the road test. The only fees that you'll have to pay is the driver's license fee, and it costs $4 per year.
There goes. Only $4 and I'm allow to drive. Another awesome rule here in Virginia (and possibly other states in US) is that it is not compulsory to attend driving schools for the lessons. It is only mandatory to attend a driver education program if you age between 16 to 19. If you are 19 or older, any drivers with a valid driver's license can be your mentor. Another main difference I found out is that you can schedule all the exams in Virginia on the day itself, and yes, 1 day is what it takes to be tested. I call it efficient, no?
I remembered I paid a few hundreds for everything in order to get my M'sia Driver's License. Please do not forget the 'gratuities' we often had to pay to ensure a safe pass. I am not trying to comment which system is better. It is my intention, however, to share with you, my fellow readers about the different system that I had been through.
Oh well, enough said.
As for now, please pardon my absence while I go out and be a left hand drive *(LHD) driver.
*Malaysia, like most of the Commonwealth Countries, applies right hand drive (RHD) system.