London: A Spanish judge has sparked a controversy with his ruling that a driving school was within its rights to charge women learners extra because it was proven that "men were better drivers".
Judge Javier Albar was asked to decide whether a driving school in Zaragoza province was discriminatory in offering male learners a cheaper deal than their female counterparts on driving lessons, The Telegraph paper reported.
The November 2011 offer advertised a deal where for 665 euros (over $900) male learners aged between 18-22 could avail of as many classes as necessary to pass their driving test. But for women the fees was 850 euros with the argument that on an average they needed five lessons more than men to obtain their driving licence.
Following a flurry of complaints, a consumer rights group fined the Gasque driving school 4,000 euros for sexual discrimination and demanded the school should drop the disparate offers.
The school, however, appealed to the courts. It presented research that backed up its claim that women required more lessons than men to achieve the same standard in driving.
The judge agreed and overturned the fine while ruling that a different price for courses offered to male and female learners was not discriminatory.
In his ruling, the judge cited official statistics from Spain's Directorate of Traffic that proved "every single year, men displayed greater dexterity and better open road skills" in their driving tests than their female counterparts.
So it was perfectly acceptable to offer men a discount because on an average they need fewer lessons, he ruled.