Monday, February 19, 2018

Ideal Driver Award to include women starting next year

The English language daily Saudi Gazette reported (on February 17, 2018) that starting in 2019, Saudi women drivers will be eligible to win a safe driving award with a 500,000 SR prize. You can link to the story here and read the text below.

Khalid Al-Balahdi
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM — The Eastern Province Traffic Safety Committee has announced that it will include women drivers in the annual Ideal Driver Award next year after making necessary amendment in the regulations for the prize.

Abdullah Al-Rajhi, secretary-general of the committee, said the next round of the award will be its fifth edition and will include women candidates for the first time.

“We will look into the award’s rules and regulations and amend them to allow the participation of women. One of the award’s regulations is to have a clean driving record free of any traffic violations for three years prior to the date of the award. This rule will have to be amended since women will start to drive in the Kingdom only this year,” said Al-Rajhi.

Saudi Aramco has nearly completed a driving school for women employees of the company and it has also cooperated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University to give technical support and consultancy for setting up their own driving school for women, Al-Rajhi said.

“Prizes worth up to half a million riyals are up for grabs by the winners of the Ideal Driver Award. Support from Emir of the Eastern Province Prince Saud Bin Naif, who is head of the Traffic Safety Committee, and his deputy Prince Ahmad Bin Fahd Bin Salman is the core reason behind the success of the committee. They both believe in the committee’s purpose and cause,” said Al-Rajhi.

He claimed that the committee was successful in bringing down the rate of accidents in the province by 41 percent since 2012.

“The death rate from road accidents in the Kingdom is currently a victim every hour. An average of 25 people die every day and over 9,000 people die every year due to road accidents. This is in addition to some 38,000 people who are severely injured each year. All of this is due to drivers and pedestrians violating traffic safety laws,” said Al-Rajhi.

He added victims of road accidents occupy 30 percent of hospital beds in the country and they cause an annual economic loss of SR27 billion in terms of the cost of treatment and missed days of work.

The Ideal Driver Award contains a number of categories.

“There is an award for the excellent private driver and an award for the excellent public driver. The award is granted to both the private and public sectors and also to school and university drivers," said Abdulhameed Al-Mujil, president of the Saudi Association for Traffic Safety.

He urged Saudi families to sign their drivers up for the award to encourage them to follow road safety regulations.

Friday, February 16, 2018

1,000 Saudi women have signed up as Careem drivers

In the Gulf region, an Uber-like company called Careem employs thousands of drivers. Here is a story by Harriet Pudney (posted 2/15/18) from Emirates Woman magazine about 1,000 Saudi women signing up to be drivers for Careem. A link to the story is here, and the story is below.

They’ll be hitting the road from June.

Dubai-based ride-sharing app Careem has opened up applications for women in Saudi Arabia, and 1,000 have already put their names forward.
Speaking to Thomson Reuters site Zawya, co-founder Magnus Olsson said Careem was looking to expand significantly in the country.
The Saudi government has ruled that any new drivers for apps like Careem must be nationals. Existing expat drivers are allowed to continue, Zawya reports.
 These changes come as part of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious post-oil economy plan which hopes to increase participation of women in the workforce and diversify the country’s industries.
“There is still so much room for growth in the Saudi market. Small parts of the population in Saudi are using services such as Careem, and, as economic activity increases, there will be more need to move around, whether for jobs or other private activities,” Olsson told the site.
In September, it was announced that the ban on women behind the wheel would end in June this year.
The initiative, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination.
The crown prince is also behind an initiative to turn 200 kilometres of the country’s Red Sea coast into a series of luxury retreats.