Peripheral Vision and Burqa Drivers
|A female driver in Islamic Burqa|
In Britain and most civilised societies, a wannabe driver is advised to undertake driving lessons from a qualified driving instructor. In addition to the driving lessons, the instructor will always emphasis the importance of peripheral vision.
Even during driving test itself, the new driver’s peripheral vision is practically put to test.
And so, what is peripheral vision?
According to Drivers-ED, “Peripheral vision accompanies central vision. While central vision covers about three degrees of the visual field straight ahead of us, peripheral, or side vision, covers the rest.”
Furthermore, “peripheral vision is not as sharp as central vision, but is more sensitive to light and motion and helps us detect events to the side, even when we're not looking in that direction.”
Thus, if peripheral vision is an important aspect of safe driving, then, why should Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and other authorities allow Muslim women in Burqa to drive in the United Kingdom?
Moreover, Spacesavers advised; “if you have significant loss of peripheral vision in both eyes you are unlikely to be allowed to drive and you are obliged to inform the DVLA of any visual problems that are likely to affect your visual acuity and visual field.”
If a driver is obliged to report to the DVLA of any visual problems, I suppose a deliberate impairment of one’s peripheral vision should be an offence.
Hence in my opinion, a woman wearing burqa while driving is putting other road users at risk. And it should not be allowed.
All the same, in as much as these women in burqa want to maintain their culture, they should not pick and chose an aspect of that culture.
In Saudi Arabia for instance, married women wear burqa. Also, these women are not allowed to drive.
Perhaps one of the reasons why Saudi authorities prevent women from driving is the inadequacy of peripheral vision while wearing a Burqa.
However, I am not against any Muslim woman wearing a burqa but driving a car in Burqa (like I saw today) was strange. Her grip on the steering suggested that her vision was impaired.