Saudi women traffic wardens awaits final confirmation

A Saudi woman drives her car along a street in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, in this September 27, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 18 December 2017
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Saudi women traffic wardens awaits final confirmation

JEDDAH: The General Directorate of Traffic has completed all preparations to employ women on the country’s traffic police force. The directorate is now waiting for the leadership’s green light to go ahead with the decision.

This was announced by the chief of the General Directorate of Traffic, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, who said that women would soon be employed at different traffic checkpoints, as well as field inspectors.

The traffic director general told local media that they had submitted a related recommendation to higher authorities in the Kingdom for final approval.

Concerned parties expect the leadership to ink the recommendation before Saudi women can be seen behind the wheel beginning in June 2018, the date ordered by a royal degree to enable women to drive.

Al-Bassami said that women have long been working at both the General Directorate of Passports and that of Prisons. “We have women police working at both passports and prisons directorates, and, when needed, we can also employ women at our traffic departments around the country,” he said.

The top traffic executive denied any leniency toward drivers who break the country’s traffic laws. Besides, gender, he added, has nothing to do with punishment. “All drivers are equal in the eyes of the law, which will be dispassionately enforced on both male and female motorists,” said Al-Bassami.

Al-Bassami last month said in a press conference that they are negotiating with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to use their care centers for detaining women drivers whose violations require detention.

On the sidelines of the recently concluded three-day 4th Traffic Safety Forum and Exhibition, held from Dec. 11 to 13 in Dammam, Al-Bassami pointed out that the directorate and the ministry have reached an agreement to benefit from care centers in detaining aggressive women drivers.

He had earlier noted that Article 37 of the Saudi Traffic Regulations allows women with valid international driving licenses to drive on Kingdom’s roads without the need to attend the local driving schools. However, Al-Bassami added that women with licenses from GCC states can get Saudi licenses without taking a driving test.


Sandstorms cause major health problems, expert warns

A choking cloud of sand covers the Saudi capital. (AP)
Updated 57 min 44 sec ago
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Sandstorms cause major health problems, expert warns

  • People should take adequate precautions during sandstorms in Saudi Arabia, says scientist
  • Dr. Sultan Ayoub Meo: The diseases of the respiratory system induced by air pollutants are influenced by the type of dust and duration of exposure to the particles

JEDDAH: An eminent scientist has advised people to take adequate precautions during sandstorms in Saudi Arabia, which can cause a number of health problems, including respiratory complications.

Dr. Sultan Ayoub Meo, professor at the College of Medicine at King Saud University, Riyadh, said that sandstorms are the main cause of bacterial and viral infections, especially among elderly people.

Meo, referring to a series of sandstorms that hit various regions of the Kingdom in the past six weeks, said that “a large number of people, exposed to sandstorms, have complaints of allergic rhinitis, runny nose, wheeze, cough, chest tightness, acute asthmatic attack, eye irritation, redness of the eyes, headache, sleep disturbance and psychological disturbances.”

These are in addition to the respiratory symptoms more common in children and elderly people, he said.

“The most vulnerable part of the body to sandstorms is the respiratory system,” Meo said. “People who are exposed to them are more vulnerable to the air pollutants, as the dust particles enter the respiratory system and cause various health problems.” 

The diseases of the respiratory system induced by air pollutants are influenced by the type of dust and duration of exposure to the particles, he said.

He pointed out that the environmental protection agencies must make use of the print and electronic media to provide information about the exact date and time of sandstorms to minimize unnecessary exposure.

 He advised people to wear masks, which are designed to filter out small particulates, and also airtight goggles to protect the eyes. 

He also suggested that in the desert areas, people might “cultivate the land and adopt a fallow system” as the cultivation and fallow system minimizes the frequency of sandstorms. 

Meo said that the choking dust in sandstorms contains “a large number of bacteria, fungi and viruses.”