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.