More than 120,000 women have so far applied for driving licenses and the number is rising by the day, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.
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According to projections by analyst PwC, at least three million women will be driving by 2020, providing a major boost to the country’s automotive and insurance sectors.
Six driving schools have been issued licenses to train women in five cities, the Ministry confirmed. All are now open except one in Qassim that is nearing completion.
In addition, 22 centres have been established where women can apply for Saudi Arabian licenses if they already hold certain overseas ones.
“Our preparation for this historic day started after the issuance of the royal decree,” said Major General Mansour Al-Turki, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry. “We took into consideration the general safety of the traffic across the country.”
He said traffic laws would be applied equally to men and women and that harassment of women drivers would not be tolerated.
“Very strict harassment legislation was issued before the implementation of women driving,” he said. “Actually, this legislation was issued to stand against harassment in all its forms and in all places, including the ones that can happen on the roads, and protect everyone, not only women, in society from this brutal action.
“We took a very important step and I can safely say that we succeeded in achieving all the objectives we had nine months ago to ensure safe driving for everyone. We equally trust both females and males in sticking to the regulations and safety measures.”
The Interior Ministry confirmed that foreign women visiting Saudi Arabia will be able to rent cars, provided they have a valid license.