Middle East

Saudi Arabia sets up female-only driving schools, says women to start driving June 24

Saudi Arabia has announced that its women aged 18 and above will be allowed to drive starting from June 24, 2018.

It also said female-only driving schools will be set up in five cities across the country.

General Department of Traffic Director General Mohammed al-Bassami said in a statement on Monday that all the requirements for women in the kingdom to start driving have been established.

“Some of the instructors at the female-only driving schools will be women who have obtained their licenses abroad, al-Bassami said.

This could help tackle several issues raised in recent months, including women fearing that conservative male driving instructors would fail them on purpose.

It would also help bypass the rule that Saudi women are not allowed to interact with a man she is not related to without the permission from a male guardian.

Women with foreign driving licenses will be able to apply for a local one through a separate process, which will also assess their driving skills.

“It is no secret that many women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hold driving licences from abroad,” the statement added.

In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving – the only one of its kind in the world.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban, part of a series of reforms being pushed by the powerful royal in the conservative kingdom.

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