70,000 women obtain Saudi driving licenses

New driving school for women opens at Qassim University

Emir of Qassim Prince Faisal Bin Mishaal and Director General of Traffic Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami watch as a woman trains at the newly launched driving school at Qassim University.

Saudi Gazette report

As many as 70,000 women have been issued driving licenses since June 24, 2018, when authorities lifted the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, according to Director General of Traffic Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami.

Women in Saudi Arabia proved to be good drivers and traffic violations by them so far have not threatened public safety, he said.

Bassami was speaking at a ceremony in Buraidah after a school to teach women driving was opened at Al-Qassim University.

Emir of Qassim Prince Faisal Bin Mishaal on Monday officially launched the school, which was built on an area of 55,000 square meters. The school has 40 Saudi women instructors.

The school was the first of its kind in the region and the seventh Kingdomwide. The prince handed the instructors keys to their cars.

“The ratio of Saudization in the school is 100 percent. I am proud to be among Saudi men and women who worked day and night to make this achievement possible,” he said.

Abdul Rahman Al-Dawood, the university’s rector, said work on the school started about eight months ago.

“The accomplishment is the product of a Saudi team and the school is fully manned by Saudi women trainers,” he said.

Bassam, who also visited the center for electronic monitoring of traffic violations, said the center received about 220 objections to traffic tickets issued during the past one week.

He revealed that 75 objections were settled and 126 motorists accepted the punishments handed down to them.

Registration for training at the school was closed one hour after its opening but it will reopen during the second phase.

Meanwhile, Bassami said contracts were signed for the establishment of driving schools in Taif, the Eastern Province, Al-Jouf and the Northern Border Province.

“We have 65 schools all over the Kingdom to teach men and women driving,” he said.

On the other hand, women in Jazan waiting for a school to be opened, started to learn driving in the wilderness and outside the crowded areas of the city.

Marwah Ahmed, a schoolteacher, said she waited until sunset to take her car out of the busy city to learn driving.

She was astonished why a driving school was not opened for them so far despite the promises of the Traffic Department and the Ministry of Education.

“We were not given a clear answer and every party was shifting the responsibility to the other so we decided to go out of the city to learn driving on our own,” she said.

Hossa Omar, an administrator, said the lack of a driving school prompted her to learn driving out of the populated areas. “I cannot wait endlessly for a driving school to open in our city,” she added.