DUBAI // Youths can now learn to drive and sit their licence test before they turn 18.
Ahmed Bahrozyan, the chief executive of the licensing agency at the Roads and Transport Authority, said the rule was changed so students aged 17 and a half years old could take advantage of free time during summer holidays before going to university.
"They have more time to learn how to drive during their holidays," Mr Bahrozyan said. "They can sit the test before they are 18 and pick up the driving licence once they turn 18.
"People wanted to experience and learn how to drive earlier. Of course, there were some parents who felt their children wouldn't get their licence until they were 18 so there was no point in learning until then. But others who are coming up to their holidays are using it to their advantage."
Jude Lahham, who turned 18 last week, has already taken her theory test.
"I've started to apply for the final test and have the assigned slots for the summer," Jude said. "The main reason I started before I was 18 was because I would need the car for university."
So far, three of her friends have obtained their licences. They all started before they were 18.
"I think I am old enough to drive and girls are safer drivers," Jude said. "The training is new and now we drive really carefully around other cars and on the roads."
At the start of the year, learner drivers began receiving lessons according to an approved curriculum. Before then, driving schools had taught by their own methods.
The RTA also made lessons on driving at night and on highways mandatory.