JEDDAH: History is in the making in Saudi Arabia as the General Directorate of Traffic issued first driver’s licenses to 10 women on Monday.
The Kingdom is all set to allow women driving in three weeks. An official statement said the 10 women who were issued licenses already held international licenses. They took a brief driving test and eye exam before being issued the licenses at the General Directorate of Traffic in Riyadh.
Following the issuance of licenses, a video showing a woman receiving here Saudi driving license went viral online. The social media was also abuzz with the news and excited Saudis took to Twitter to express their feelings on this historic day.
“Thousands of congratulations to the daughters of the homeland, being issued the first license in Saudi Arabia,” a tweet by @saudalzmanan read.
Congratulations poured in as other tweeps expressed their happiness for the woman who appeared in the video. “Congratulations. I want to befriend her so that she can pass by and give me a ride and maybe show me around Riyadh city with her,” said Maryam (@m36010216).
“Thanks to the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques (King Salman), we finally saw the license being handed over to our Saudi sister by a Saudi authority. Now, not only you can drive abroad (but in Saudi Arabia as well),” said Louie Alfassi (@Louie_alfassi).
“This is one happy lady. Good luck,” See Brown (@sebbrown86) commented on the viral video.
This will allow women across the Kingdom drive their cars from June 24. After confirming the validity of foreign licenses submitted via an online portal (http://www.sdlp.sa), and assessing applicants’ ability to drive by conducting a practical test, the first group of women received their Saudi licenses on Monday.
This measure is part of the traffic department’s preparations to implement a royal decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia.
In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving.
Five Saudi universities have launched driving schools for women: Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Tabuk University, Taif University and Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.
The Saudi Driving School, at Princess Nourah University, the first for women in the capital, was launched in partnership with the Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai, an established driving school in the region.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban. His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the work force, up from about 22 percent now.