Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DETRAN and the Brazilian driver's license

Mr. Bugigangas needs to get his Brazilian driver's license. Since we're now officially Brazilian residents, his foreign license really isn't adequate if we wanted to rent a car here. Also, it really is the strangest license I've ever seen and I'm constantly amazed that the car rental companies haven't blinked an eye when he's presented it in the past few years. He has a Texas license. As a foreigner, the license clearly states the expiration date for his visa as well as a separate expiration date for his driver's license, but without specifying whether the currently expired visa invalidates the actual license. It's weird. Anyhow, yesterday, we decided to pop on over to the DETRAN website and check out the requirements.

It has been a long time since I laughed so hard I snorted.

First, there is the simulator for the written test, which I got a 70% on, not bad for a first time and also because I guesstimated a few of the answers because I wasn't familiar with the vocabulary. Those questions I did understand were often humorous, as the options were between what OUGHT to happen on the road and what Carioca drivers actually DO. I wonder how many people think those are trick questions?

Brazil also requires a medical exam and a psychological exam before they'll issue you a license. Just for fun, we looked at the info sheet for both of those exams. That's when the giggling started. This webpage reads like a primer on how take micromanagement to the next bureaucratic level.

For example:

The doctor's office must be no less than 9m2 and have a sink and light fixtures. (Are they worried people will be practicing medicine in caves?) There should be a chair for the patient as well as a chair AND a desk for the doctor, who needs to own a stethoscope, tongue depressors and a tape measure...among a few other essential items. Doctor's shouldn't treat more than 6 patients an hour...and yet there's an extensive list of things they're supposed to test for. It hardly seems possible that even an assembly-line doc could run through that list with any amount of thoroughness in 10 minutes. Moving on to the instructions for medical "professionals," we discover that not all doctors know to leave their tap shoes at home...the psychological and medical testers are advised to:

Use clothing that's appropriate for the testing facility and shoes that do not make too much noise (which might interfere with a candidate's concentration), provide well-sharpened pencils no less than 12 cm long, and, just in case it wasn't clear what the job description was, remember that "the conclusion is the most important part and, as the name indicates, should conclude something without a shade of doubt, so that, as it is a medical diagnosis, we have absolute certainty of the results of the exam."

Well, I am SO glad that's been settled. Conclusions should in fact, conclude. That led us to make our own conclusions, namely, that we're not sure that being assured our testing pencil is 12cm long gives us any confidence hat crazies are being kept off the road when they're being subjected to a psychological test that can be failed and retaken at least once!

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