Eyeless in Gaza

September 6, 2006

“A police officer described yesterday how he pulled over a motorist who was veering across the road and found that he had no eyes. Omed Aziz, an Iraqi national who lost both his eyes in a bomb blast and is also deaf, only has two fingers on one hand and suffers from leg tremors, was caught behind the wheel with a friend sitting in the passenger seat giving him instructions.” Of course, it didn’t help matters that the friend had himself been banned from driving (which, of course, spawned headlines such as ‘the banned leading the blind’).
His lawyer said “his driving didn’t fall far below what is expected from a careful and competent driver.” Plus he still had 3 senses in good working order and there was nothing wrong with the third and fifth fingers on his left hand. Also, in some places, including no doubt Baghdad, it was a positive advantage not to be able to see what other drivers were doing.
I wonder why the courts have to meddle in something as trivial as this. I sincerely hope the RNIB will mount a strong defence of the unfortunate fellow. Surely all that’s needed is one of those little signs like ‘Baby on Board’ saying ‘Caution: Blind Driver ‘. Even this might be too extreme, though, soon the police will require people to put signs up saying ‘Driver allergic to shellfish’ or ‘Driver tends to get belligerent at the mention of Scottish football commentators’. There’s no knowing where it will end.


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