Saudi women want to drive — and fast

Updated 14 October 2017
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Saudi women want to drive — and fast

LONDON: Most Saudi women want to hit the road —  and aim to start driving as quickly as possible.
An Arab News/YouGov poll of 503 KSA nationals found that 65 percent of Saudi women plan to apply for a license, three-fifths of whom want to do so as soon as the driving ban is lifted next year.
Close to a quarter of Saudi women have driven a car in another country, with 43 percent in possession of a license obtained outside KSA, the poll found.
Despite the eagerness for Saudi women to hit the road, analysts expect there to be some lag given the licensing requirements.
“It could potentially take a while for women to get the necessary driving lessons and go through the bureaucratic hurdles of getting a license in order to actually start driving,” said Tom Rogers, an economist at Oxford Economics specializing in Saudi Arabia.
Others pointed to the cultural adjustment as Saudi society incorporates the idea of women behind the wheel. 
“The implementation of these things takes time. It’s not just a matter of issuing driving licenses,” said Crispin Hawes, managing director for the Middle East and North Africa at Teneo Intelligence, a global advisory firm.
“The government decision is the easy part. Implementation, particularly on an issue that has been sensitive, may take much longer.”
A report by Frost & Sullivan estimated that up to 90,000 to 150,000 women would get driving licenses in Saudi Arabia annually — currently up to 400,000 are issued to men — and anticipated an initial surge in the numbers as women rush to pass the test.
The report also predicted an improvement in road safety across the Kingdom as a result of the decree, due to women replacing taxi drivers and sharing driving responsibilities with other family members.
The ban on issuing women driving licenses will be officially lifted in June 2018, allowing a nine-month period to iron-out issues that remain, such as whether male driving instructors will be able to teach female pupils.

• For full report and related articles please visit: #SaudiWomenCanDrivePoll


Saudi Civil Defense makes Kingdom safer place to live

Updated 32 min 56 sec ago
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Saudi Civil Defense makes Kingdom safer place to live

JEDDAH: Collaboration between Saudi universities, research centers and the country’s Civil Defense is helping to make the Kingdom a safer place to live.
Col. Abdul Aziz Al-Zahrani, the general director of the Jeddah department of Civil Defense, said “strong” cooperation on safety and civil protection matters was a vital part of risk management work taking place in the Kingdom.
Speaking during a press conference to announce details of next month’s Intersec Saudi Arabia 2019 trade fair for the security, safety, and fire protection sector, Al-Zahrani said the General Directorate of Civil Defense had spent many productive years sharing knowledge with Saudi education and research institutions.
He said research data helped in producing risk assessments and finding solutions to natural, industrial and domestic safety issues. “The Civil Defense takes advantage of these studies to help keep people and properties safe.”
Al-Zahrani added: “Take me for instance. I am a graduate of King Abdul Aziz University where I obtained my Ph.D. in geological and environmental engineering. I have worked on risk assessment on the coast of the Makkah region. We were able to produce geological maps that helped to locate risky, low-risk and safe areas.”
The third edition of the Intersec exhibition will take place on April 14-16 at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events with more than 150 exhibitors from 20 countries expected to attend.
The event aims to offer a platform to network, create and strengthen partnerships, share information, and keep up to date with the latest innovations driving the regional and global security, safety, and fire protection industries.
Organized by Messe Frankfurt-Middle East and Al-Harithy Company for Exhibitions (ACE) and supported by the General Directorate of Civil Defense along with other international government partners, trade associations, and non-profit institutions, Intersec will bring together key regulators, government authorities, solution providers and end-users to discuss strategies and collaborative approaches for security, safety and fire protection in the region.
The trade event will cover product groups including commercial security, information security, perimeter and physical security, homeland security and policing, fire and rescue, and health and safety.
Al-Zahrani said great strides had been taken in Saudi Arabia to protect the public from the dangers posed by unsafe appliances, and the Civil Defense had also increased the efficiency and effectiveness of fire and rescue services.