One woman has already been penalised for flouting traffic regulations before the driving ban ends next year.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have warned women to wait until the ban on driving officially ends before getting behind the wheel.

King Salman last month issued a royal decree allowing women to secure driving licences, with the order set to be in place by June 2018.

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However women have since been pictured in the driving seat on social media since the news was announced, with one woman penalised by police for driving before the decree comes into effect.

The unnamed woman, who was filmed driving out of a Riyadh hotel, was not arrested, and the nature of the penalty imposed has not been disclosed by authorities.

Her male guardian had to sign a pledge stating she would not violate regulations again, Bloomberg reported.

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“We call on all Saudi citizens to respect the law and wait until the ban on women driving formally ends,” a police spokesman said, according to The Guardian.

People offering driving lessons to women before 2018 could also be penalised, a traffic general directorate spokesperson added, saying: “Nobody has been licenced to train women on driving in public places.”

“No woman will be allowed to drive before the formal lifting of the ban in June and the law will be applied to all those who post ads on social media offering driving lessons,” the spokesperson said, according to Gulf News. 

The end of the driving ban has been described as the start of a new era in the kingdom, which is currently the only country in the world where women are prohibited from driving.

The move was widely celebrated on social media at the time, with the hashtag #SaudiWomenCanDrive trending on Twitter.

The reform comes as part of the kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, a post-oil economy plan under which the government aims to increase the percentage of women in the nation’s workforce from 23 per cent to 28 per cent by 2020.

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