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Saudi Arabia

Women drivers will reduce crashes, says interior minister

Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud.
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s lifting of a ban on women drivers will reduce the number of car crashes, said the Kingdom’s interior minister.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, the interior minister who took over in June, said security forces were ready to apply traffic laws to men and women.
“Women driving cars will transform traffic safety to educational practice which will reduce human and economic losses caused by accidents,” he was quoted as saying on the ministry’s official Twitter feed.
Meanwhile, a government spokesman said Saudi women will be allowed to drive from the age of 18.
Asked on Al Arabiya TV about the minimum age for Saudi women, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said: “Eighteen years is the age at which a person can obtain a driver’s license and drive a car in the Kingdom.”
In a royal decree issued on Tuesday, King Salman ordered an end by next year of the ban on women drivers.
The decree stipulated that the move must “apply and adhere to the necessary Shariah standards.”
The king ordered a ministerial committee to report within 30 days on how to implement the new policy by June 24, 2018.
UN human rights experts praised the ban’s removal as a major step toward women’s autonomy and independence.
While Saudi women have welcomed the lifting of the driving ban, some men have expressed concern it would increase the number of cars on already crowded roads.
A typical middle- to upper-class Saudi family has two vehicles, one driven by the man of the house and a second car in which a full-time chauffeur transports his family.

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