Driving schools will open around three months before the ban on issuing women’s licences ends.
The countdown is on until women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive—however they will be able to get behind the wheel a few months before King Salman’s historic royal decree comes into force in June 2018.
According to reports, driving schools for women will be operational from March next year, so female motorists can practice ahead of legally gaining a licence.
The three or so month head-start should provide women with enough time to gain the necessary skills to pass their driving test, Saudi daily Okaz reports.
It’s not known exactly which driving schools will open around that date, though several institutions have revealed they plan to start training women to hit the road.
The General Department of Traffic and King Abdul Aziz University announced they will co-launch a women-only training school in Jeddah when the royal decree comes into force.
The school will provide lessons in accordance with “international standards”, Arab News reports—and it’s not the only university planning to teach women to drive.
Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, the world’s largest university for women in the kingdom, also revealed plans to establish a driving school especially for females last month.
Women hoping to gain their first driving licence will have to attend compulsory training courses, an official from the kingdom confirmed last week.
“Those who wish to obtain a new driving licence and are not good at driving should attend a 90-hour training course, while those who are good at driving should attend a 30-hour training course,” Directorate General of Traffic (Muroor) Mohammed Al-Bassami told the Saudi Press Agency.
There will also be an option for a 120-hour training course, according to Arab News, though it has not yet been confirmed if women who hold licences from international countries will be able to just sit a test without completing a course.
King Salman issued the historic decree back in September, although women have since been warned to keep off the roads until the new law comes into force.
Those caught behind the wheel before June 2018 will now be fined, rather than detained.
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.