Big Changes for Women – and Road Safety – in Saudi Arabia

Do you remember getting your first car? You were probably excited to show off your new ride and finally say goodbye to riding the bus. But most of all, you were probably thrilled about your newfound sense of independence.

This experience is true for many people. Driving allows people to take their mobility into their own hands. It gives them the ability to go anywhere they want, whenever they want. This sense of independence is the reason why so many teenagers look forward to their first car, and why so many elderly drivers are reluctant to give up the keys. For people of all ages, being able to drive is an important part of life.

Big Changes in Saudi Arabia

But for decades, women in Saudi Arabia could not pursue this sense of independence.  Due to the country’s ultra-conservative laws, which limit the interactions between women and men, women could not legally drive. This was rooted in the fear that female drivers would have interactions with men, like other drivers or police officers. Now, thanks to more progressive policy changes, things are going to change for women in Saudi Arabia. Starting in June of 2018, the ban on female drivers will officially end.

This is clearly a big step for women in Saudi Arabia, and people around the world are cheering for them. But according to Saudi Arabian officials, the change is rooted in practicality, not feminism. Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, the country’s interior minister, says that female drivers will “transform traffic safety into a pedagogical practice which will reduce human and economic losses caused by accidents.” Simply put, they’re hoping that female drivers will help make the roads safer.

Do Female Drivers Make the Roads Safer?

Do female drivers really make the roads safer? Even in the United States, this question has long been up for debate.  The car accident death rate for males is more than two times higher than for females. In 2015, 24,899 men died in traffic accidents, including pedestrian accidents, compared to only 10,166 women. Male drivers are also more likely to exhibit risky driving behavior, like speeding or not wearing a seatbelt.

However, women tend to be in more minor accidents, particularly fender benders and sideswipe accidents. The chance of a sideswipe accident involving two female-driven cars is 52%, compared to the 22% chance of a similar accident involving two male drivers. Teenage girls can also be a danger on the roads. They are twice as likely as teenage boys to display risky driving behavior. It’s also worth noting that there are more male drivers on the roads, which naturally increases the chances of a man getting in a car accident.

Clearly, the old argument over male versus female drivers is difficult to solve. But regardless of what safety changes female drivers bring to the roads in Saudi Arabia, finally giving women the independence of getting behind the wheel is a huge step in a better direction.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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