King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

King Salman. (SPA file photo)
Updated 27 September 2017
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King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it would allow women to drive in the Kingdom, in the latest move in a string of social and economic reforms underway in the country.

King Salman issued the decree, according to a royal court statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike,” the SPA said.

The decree orders the formation of a ministerial body to give advice on the practicalities of the edict within 30 days and to ensure the full implementation of the order by June 2018.

The move was announced on television and also by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Saudi Arabia allows women to drive,” the ministry confirmed on Twitter.

The decree referred to the "negative effects of not allowing women to drive vehicles, and the positive effects envisaged from allowing them to do so" within the context of Islamic laws.

The prohibition is considered a social issue in the Kingdom, as there is no actual law or religious edict that prohibits it. 

For years, the topic has been the center of extensive debate in government, media and social circles.


'Huge step'

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Prince Khaled bin Salman, described the decision of allowing women to drive as a “huge step.”  

“It's not just a social change, it's part of economic reform,” he said. “Our leadership believes this is the right time to do this change because in Saudi Arabia, we have a young, dynamic open society.” 

The ambassador said women will not need to get permission from legal guardians to get a license.

Furthermore, if a woman has a driver’s license in another Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, she's allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, he said.


Saudi drivers take position as final Ad Diriyah showdown kicks off

Updated 15 December 2018
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Saudi drivers take position as final Ad Diriyah showdown kicks off

  • Ahmed Bin Khanen and Bandar Alesayi of the Saudi Racing team lined up in the final of the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy
  • The race is the world’s first international championship for production-based electric cars

DUBAI: Two Saudi racers took position as they compete in the final Jaguar race of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship today despite a slight morning weather hiccup.

Ahmed Bin Khanen and Bandar Alesayi of the Saudi Racing team lined up in the final of the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, the world’s first international championship for production-based electric cars.

Both local racers made history as the first among the racers to compete in the inaugural Jaguar championship.

“I am really thrilled to represent Saudi and to be part of the first race of Jaguar in front of my home crowd, I very happy to be here. It’s bit tricky out there for us but looking for to it. I want to just enjoy myself and put on a good show,” Bandar said.

Ahmed echoed Bandar’s excitement, “this city circuit is a bit tricky, but we are getting there. I’m very proud to have Formula E and the Jaguar eTROPHY here in Saudi Arabia, hopefully we can create a great weekend,” he said.

Bander (car 12) was 6th on the starting grid and Ahmed (car 24) was 8th out of the pack of 12. Both drivers have been supported by the General Sports Authority (GSA) and the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF).

The main ABB FIA Formula E race starts later in the day.