Women drivers to transform Saudi auto market

A newly-licensed Saudi driver gets out of her car in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia ended its ban on women driving on June 24. (AFP)
Updated 28 August 2018

Women drivers to transform Saudi auto market

  • The lifting of the ban on women driving has opened up opportunities within the auto market

JEDDAH: Two months have passed since the official lifting of the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia. The majority of women in Saudi Arabia are planning to drive a car. According to a new survey by YouGov, 24 percent of women have applied for a driving license since June 2018 and 61 percent of women who haven’t applied yet are willing to apply in the future.
However, there are women who are not willing to apply for a driving license. They have several concerns, most of them around safety.
The recently launched government campaign to educate women on driving and safety regulations has not helped many women to overcome their fears.
According to YouGov findings based on an online survey, one in five women do not think that they would be a good driver. And 27 percent of them feel it is dangerous, 24 percent do not know how to drive, and 23 percent believe their husbands/ family members would not allow them to drive.
Aisha Abdellateef, 23, from Jeddah, told Arab News, “I want to learn how to drive. However, I do not prefer to depend on myself totally. It is less stressful when someone else is driving.”
Although Aisha believes she will be an excellent driver, she does not see that traffic and safety regulations are well implemented in Saudi Arabia yet.
Sarah Al-Asta, 26, from Jeddah, is more optimistic: “I believe it is safe to drive, there isn’t much to worry about as we thought before the ban was lifted, probably because there aren’t many new female drivers in the streets yet.”
“However, I think I won’t apply for a driving license any time soon, I will wait until the demand on the driving school is eased, and I hope the costs to get a license decrease too.”
The lifting of the ban on women driving has opened up opportunities within the auto market; 78 percent of women who intend to drive are willing to buy a car.
According to YouGov, the majority of women say the decision of which car to buy rests in their hands.
Nahla Abu Alula, from Jeddah, received her Saudi driving license as soon as the ban was lifted, “I received my first driving license in 2013 from the US when I was a student; it was still valid so I exchanged it with a Saudi one.”
“I was concerned, and a bit afraid to drive at the beginning because of the comments I kept hearing that driving in Saudi Arabia is a challenge, but I found that it is normal,” she said.
“On the contrary, most of the male drivers I came across were welcoming, encouraging, and cooperative. sometimes they would make a thumbs-up gesture with their hands or a victory sign.”


Saudi Arabia reports 29 COVID-19 deaths, 455 new cases

Updated 28 September 2020

Saudi Arabia reports 29 COVID-19 deaths, 455 new cases

  • 841 patients have recovered from the virus over the past 24

RIYADH: Saudi health authorities announced 29 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, taking the Kingdom’s death toll from the virus to 4,712.
A total of 455 new cases were also announced, with 52 in Jeddah, 48 in Madinah, 35 in Makkah, 33 in the capital Riyadh and 32 in Hafouf, among the cities with the highest count. 
The total number of confirmed cases in the Kingdom has reached 333,648, with 11,090 active cases and 1,034 in critical condition. 

According to the health ministry, 841 patients have recovered from the virus over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 317,846. 
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 33.14 million people globally and the death toll has reached 997,236.