Saudi Arabia: Female driver sentenced to 1,000 lashes, six years in jail for texting while driving

Riyadh | A 28-year-old Saudi woman has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and six years in jail for texting on her cell phone while driving reports the Gulf News Herald.

The woman who was distracted while texting and driving had an accident with a car of a member of the royal Saudi family, whose name has not been disclosed, and could explain the harsh judgment, believe some experts.

Judge Al-Manar explained during the trial that even though no one was harmed during the accident and that the car was barely scratched, it was important to “send a strong message to women drivers of the Kingdom.”

“It is important for women to understand that they drive with a natural mental handicap and are extremely dangerous to other people as well as themselves on the road,” judge Al-Manar said during the ruling.

Saudi government-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Abdallah al-Fakah says women are considered more dangerous on the road because they lack the mental qualities men do to “stay in control” and “process their thoughts in a rational manner.”

“Women have intellectual capabilities for sure, but not much more than camels. This has been proven in clinical studies and that is why I am strongly against women driving” psychiatrist Dr. Abdallah al-Fakah told reporters concerning the judgment.

“Women should not feel ashamed of this but should instead embrace their differences with men and stay at home and limit themselves to simple tasks such as cleaning and cooking,” he added during the interview.

Although Saudi Arabia has overturned last June a decades-long edict banning women from driving, penalties for women drivers are ten to fifty times harsher for women drivers who are believed to be more dangerous on the road than men by Saudi authorities.

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