NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) – A Nashville man said he failed his driver’s test 14 times, but that’s not because he does not know the material.
The written part of the state driving test is offered in five languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and German. Unfortunately, Arabic is not offered despite being a widespread language in our state. It causes significant problems for a Nashville man.
Traveling on foot is one of the few ways Nagi Abaza gets around, book and bag in tow.
Inside the bag is a driver’s manual. Abaza’s New Jersey license expired a few years ago, but he needs a Tennessee license now.
“The main reason I got a good chance with Amazon. $ 31 an hour,” says Abaza.
Abaza must pass a written test at a Driver Service Center to become a delivery driver. He says he knows the place well.
“Everyone already knows my name,” he says. “You know why? Because there are more than 14 times I have not passed the test.”
Abaza’s first language is Arabic, a language Tennessee does not offer for the test.
“Believe me, I study very well,” Abaza says. “But believe me, the questions come like (throws blows). I want to explain, but the language does not allow me to explain what the problems are in the DM test.”
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security says that while people cannot use their phones to translate, they can use dictionaries. Abaza, on the other hand, knows it will take time.
“If the test is three, four hours, believe me, I need more than four hours,” Abaza points out.
If the state offered the test in Arabic, he says he would already be behind the wheel.
“Believe me for a second, I would answer. Why? Remember this is my language. And then I’ve already studied. I know everything in English I can already.”
Census data show that Arabic is the third most spoken language in Tennessee. The test is offered in Arabic in 20 other states.
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security said they are always looking for ways to expand their services. But they said changes depend on economic and population trends.
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