The Federal Traffic Council has unanimously approved a proposal to reduce the legal driving age to 17, said Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen.

The Dubai Police Traffic Department, which made the recommendation, said it will now be submitted to the Ministry of Interior’s policies and strategies council, Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National, reported on Sunday.

Granting 17-year-olds the right to apply for a driving licence would enable them to drive to university and reduce the number of those driving without a licence and without parental approval, Maj Gen Al Zafeen said.

The decision would benefit families that rely on younger members to run daily errands, he said.

At a meeting held at the Dubai Police Officers Club last week, Maj Gen Al Zafeen said motorcycle licences are granted to 17-year-olds “in spite of the high risks involved that endanger riders’ safety”.

Learning to drive a light vehicle is significantly easier and safer compared with motorcycles, so lowering the age limit to 17 will increase the level of road safety for this age group, he said.