In 2017, following the ascension of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to his role, Saudi Arabia announced a landmark decree to lift the country’s decades-old driving ban on female motorists. After years of being prohibited from driving themselves, the ban on women drivers was officially rescinded on June 24, 2018. This year in January, just six months after the ban was lifted, the Kingdom announced that it had already issued 40,000 licenses to female drivers. Now, just two months after that last announcement, Saudi Arabia has now placed that figure at a staggering 70,000.
According to Saudi Gazette, the Kingdom’s Director General of Traffic Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami made the announcement this week while speaking at a ceremony in Buraidah in a school set up in Al-Qassim University to teach women driving. He also went on to explain that women in Saudi Arabia are proving to be good drivers and traffic violations by them so far have not threatened public safety.
The school was launched last week by Emir of Qassim Prince Faisal Bin Mishaal. Built on an area of 55,000 square meters, the school has 40 Saudi women instructors and is the first of its kind in the region. During the opening of the school, the Emir handed all instructors keys to their cars.
The decision to lift the driving ban has been seen as one of the most prominent moves by the country’s young Crown Prince. Under his leadership, Saudi Arabia continues to move ahead with Vision 2030, an ambitious plan that is set to transform the Kingdom’s society and economy. From improving the rights of women in Saudi Arabia, to revising laws and creating more job opportunities outside the petroleum sector, the Kingdom is firmly on its path to change.