Turkmenistan Reportedly Bans Women from Driving

People sit at a bus stop while a motorcade with US Secretary of State John Kerry drives past on November 3, 2015 in Ashgabat. Kerry is traveling to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the last day of his travels in the region as he visits five Central Asian nations. AFP PHOTO/POOL/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkmenistan, continuing its authoritarian regime’s strange automotive proclamations, is making life difficult for women drivers. Specifically, it has reportedly banned them from the road.

According to the Chronicles of Turkmenistan, a human rights group based in Vienna, police are telephoning women to “re-sit the driving test” shortly after they began stopping women on the roads and taking away their licenses. The independent news agency AKI Press reported that police “started seizing women’s driving licenses and sending cars to the parking lot” in December after the government concluded that most of the country’s accidents occurred because of a woman or “with participation of woman drivers.”

The former Soviet Bloc nation bordering Iran made headlines recently for banning and towing black cars on order of the country’s president because they are believed to be bad luck. Saudi Arabia, the only nation on official record that bans women from driving, agreed in September 2017 to rescind the ban, although the change won’t take effect until June. With women drivers—and all black cars—off the road, that should make for less traffic when President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov wants to go cruising in his Mercedes-Benz G-wagen convertible or when defense minister Agageldi Mammetgeldiyev wants to go for a spin in his Rolls-Royce Phantom drophead.

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