Saudi Arabia: With Accident-prone roads, people fear accidents could go up with Women driving

Kottayam: Many people in Gulf are apprehensive that women driving cars in Saudi Arabia would lead to more accidents.

First Indian woman to acquire a driving license after Saudi lifted the ban on Women drivers, Ms Telma Jose(46) feels these fears are unfounded. She hails from Kottayam in Kerala and believes this lifting of the ban would empower women in a different way and give them a sense of independency, TOI reported.

“These are initial days and women have just started driving in Saudi Arabia. People are apprehensive as they feel there will be more accidents,” said Jose who believes driving is a symbol of freedom.

So when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was considerate to lift the decades-old ban granting the driving license to women from starting 24 June of 2018 many women took the first chance to clear the test and obtain one for themselves.

Telma is currently working with King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh since 2015 as a Nursing administrator.

She had previously worked at Norfolk and Norwich university hospitals were she drove her own car to work but on arrival in Saudi she could not get behind the wheels and was dependent on someone else to drive her to work.

“In Saudi I felt tied down as I had to depend on taxi every time,” she recalls. Since she worked in the US and England, her Britain license helped her for which she was exempted from writing the theory exam and only had to submit a medical certificate with her online application followed by a test drive to obtain a license with validation of five years.

However, she says, “England roads are safer when compared to India and Saudi Arabia. The drivers are disciplined, follow traffic rules and signals. In Saudi, speeding is common and a lot of accidents occur daily. We have to be extra careful.”