On September 26, Saudi Arabia lifted a longstanding ban on women drivers (that has been in place since the 90s). Now, the Kingdom is gearing up for this milestone moment when women will get behind the wheel, by setting up driving schools and courses to get them ready to take to the road.
An official announcement by the country's Directorate General of Traffic, Mohammed Al-Bassami, outlined the new steps that women need to take to obtain licenses before the decree comes into force in June 2018.
Al-Bassami explained that the current rules allowing potential drivers to just sit for a test have now changed. Applicants will no longer book and sit to take a test to obtain a license, without taking driving lessons first.
“Those who wish to obtain a new driving license and are not good at driving should attend a 90-hour training course, while those who are good at driving should attend a 30-hour training course,” he told the Saudi Press Agency.
According to Arab News, there will also be an option for a 120-hour training course. Nothing has been mentioned yet regarding women who hold international driving licenses, if they will be able to sit for the test without having to complete any of the new courses.
This news follows the announcement that the General Department of Traffic and King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) will establish a women-only driving school in Jeddah when the royal decree comes into effect next year. According to Emirates Woman, KAU will also be dedicating 4,500 parking spots for female students and faculty members.
Earlier this October, Princess Nourah University announced its plans to set up a driving school for women, hailed as a first for Saudi Arabia. The university is said to have more than 60,000 female students in Riyadh and other cities.