While women are often credited as being safer drivers than men, that's not true if they are wearing high heels, according to a ruling by France’s supreme court.
According to a court judgement wearing heels was in breach of the article R. 412-6 of the highway code which states drivers must be able to "execute conveniently and without delay all the necessary manoeuvres".
The ruling is in relation to a case that went before the court in January, when judges decided that a female driver from Bastia, Corsica, should not be awarded compensation by her insurer for a fatal car accident, in which she was injured, because of her choice of footwear.
According to Le Figaro, the driver lost control of the vehicle on a slippery road due to “summer ice”, causing the car to collide with another motorist coming from the opposite direction. A seven-year-old girl was killed, three others seriously injured and seven more left with minor injuries.
The woman initially claimed €250,000 in compensation from the insurance company of the other motorist but it was rejected. She then took the claim to a court and won her case. However an appeals court in Bastia subsequently overturned that ruling, Le Figaro reported. This decision has now been upheld by France's highest appeals court.
Citing the police report, the court said that an aggravating factor in the 2002 crash was that the woman had been wearing high-heeled shoes which had got stuck under the pedals. "In the same way we could also condemn a driver who wears flip flops," said Cedric Uzan-sarano, lawyer for the insurance companies.
The court also noted she was also listening to the radio, speaking to fellow passengers and admitted that she was smoking a cigarette” at the time.
In addition, the woman was found to be carrying seven passengers, five of whom were in the back of the car, aged between four and 15 “without a child-seat or seat belt.”
Chantal Perrichon, the president of League against Road Violence blasted the "sexism of the police", Le Monde reported. "What would they have done if it was a man in this case?" she asked.