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Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

Saudi Arabian women will be able to drive trucks and motorcycles, officials have said three months after the kingdom announced a historic decision to end a ban on women driving.

In September, King Salman issued a decree saying women will be able to drive from June 2017 as part of an ambitious reform push in the conservative kingdom.

The Saudi General Directorate of Traffic gave details of the new regulations that will follow the lifting of the ban on the official Saudi Press Agency late on Friday.

“Yes, we will authorise women to drive motorcycles” as well as trucks, it said, adding that the royal decree stipulates that the law on driving will be “equal” for both men and women.

There will be no special licence plate numbers for female-driven cars, it said.

But women involved in road accidents or who commit traffic violations will be dealt with at special centres that will be established and run by women.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to impose a ban on women driving and its maintenance was seen around the world as a symbol of repression in the Gulf kingdom.

Its historic decision to allow women to drive from June 2017 has been cheered inside the kingdom and abroad — and comes after decades of resistance from female activists, many of whom were jailed for flouting the ban.

Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women.

Under the country’s guardianship system, a male family member — normally the father, husband or brother — must grant permission for a woman’s study, travel and other activities.

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