Lifting the ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia will reduce the number of road accidents, according to the country’s interior minister.
King Salman issued a decree this week allowing women in the Middle Eastern country to drive for the first time, effective from June 24, 2018.
In a series of tweets in Arabic, Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef said the “historic decision” would “reduce human and economic losses caused by accidents.”
The minister didn’t elaborate on how female drivers would reduce road accidents, but said the country’s security forces were “ready to apply” traffic laws to both male and female drivers.
Saudi Arabia currently has one of the world’s worst traffic death rates, with an estimated 526,000 accidents reported annually, and up to 17 fatalities each day.
Data shows that an increase in cars typically correlates with a rise in accidents, but this is expected to be mitigated by women ditching their chauffeur-driven vehicles.
While the real impact on accidents remains to be seen, social media users have been divided over their predictions.