Driving on the Saudi roads is very dangerous, Saudi has the highest death toll of any country in the world, according to last years’ count 17 deaths a day. Nevertheless, many Saudi families rely on very young boys to drive them around. In some families there may be no grown up men, or only very elderly men, and as women are not allowed to drive, the only option is a little boy, if they are lucky enough to have one.
It is quite common to see small boys drive grown up women around on Saudi roads.
Azza Al-Saeed, a university student whose underage brother drives her around, said, “We rely on my 14-year-old brother to get stuff from nearby shops, he does not drive outside the city and we call him often to make sure he is safe. He does not go to a place further than 30 minutes from home.” Al-Saeed explained that her father is old and cannot cope with all the driving demands, nor does he allow her and her sisters to take taxis or private drivers and wants them to be dropped only by their male guardians.
It may sound cool for a twelve year old to be allowed to drive a car, but when it’s ”work” it becomes old very quickly!
Umm Abdul Rahman’s 15-year-old son has been driving her around the city for 3 years. When Abdul Rahman was 12, he reportedly showed a passion for cars and began learning how to drive from his father. When he turned 12, his mother asked him to be her driver.
“I don’t allow him to go out on his own. I accompany him and make sure that he doesn’t speed and am always there in case of an emergency.”
Abdul Rahman said he used to like driving but grew tired of it quickly.
“In the beginning, it was fun. But now I hate it because it is a chore and takes me away from my friends,” he said.
Susie of Arabia took this photo in Jeddah: