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24 April 2017 20:59 (South Africa)

Woman takes cell industry to court over mother’s driving death

An American woman is taking the country’s cellphone industry to court after her mother was killed in a car crash caused by a driver on the phone. Jennifer Smith is suing the companies that provided the driver’s phone and wireless service, saying they should have foreseen such dangers and failed to provide adequate warnings. Legal experts say the lawsuit is one of only a handful ever filed. Other studies have shown that women (and teenage) drivers who do their make-up in their rear-view mirrors and chat incessantly on the phone while driving are at much higher risk of causing a prang. And while this is not a gender issue, per se, it raises interesting questions about responsibility and liability for behaviour on the road. One professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law says Smith’s claim deals with the widespread use of a product known to be involved in significant risk behaviour, and therefore deals with the ultimate question of who should contribute to minimising that risk. And isn’t it interesting that women generally get lower car insurance premiums because they are seen to be less of a risk. Read more: The New York Times, Pediatrics, Personal Injury, Stylist

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