Saudi allows women to drive trucks and motorcycles
Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to operate commercial vehicles, drive trucks and ride motorcycles on the kingdom's roads next summer, according to authorities in Riyadh.
Months after the historic decision to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, the traffic department issued new details on the law expected to come into effect next year, said the state-run Saudi Press Agency (Spa).
Weeks after the announcement, some feared the move would be implemented with strict female-specific laws placing conditions on issuing licences to women in Saudi Arabia.
However, the new regulations, which refer to women "as equal" to male drivers, dispel fears that licences for women will be any different to those for men.
The new regulations also state that GCC-issued licenses could be swapped for Saudi Arabian driving permits, though the details on whether this will apply to expatriate women is still unknown.
The General Authority said there will be no female-specific licence plate numbers, but that traffic violations committed by women will be dealt with by a special police unit.
Three months ago, King Salman issued a royal decree stipulating that women will be allowed to drive as of June next year. The announcement set off a wave of ambitious reforms spearheaded by the king's son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The move to allow women to drive has been welcomed by many in Saudi Arabia, where strict regulations on women have been easing in recent years. Authorities mentioned that involving women in the kingdom's Vision 2030 will likely be a crucial step as the oil-rich state begins to diversify its economy.
Ahead of June next year, the Saudi federal authority of transport has contracted institutions around the country, including the King Abdulaziz University, to provide women with driving lessons that are needed for some of those applying for a driver's licence in the country.
As millions of women begin to take to Saudi Arabia's roads, the public authority expects that up to a million foreign workers will be made obsolete as a young female population that was previously reliant on drivers to get around look to drive themselves.
Many women may still choose to employ drivers, however.
Meanwhile, women looking to apply for commercial licences for driving will be asked to go through the same procedures as men, Spa said.
Updated: December 17, 2017 07:23 PM