There is currently nothing written in the Massachusetts general laws that indicate drivers must wear shoes to drive a motor vehicle. Driving barefoot is not only legal in the state of Massachusetts but across the entire United States of America. There are no states or counties in the U.S. that specify that it is illegal to drive barefoot.
Barefoot driving is undoubtedly convenient for those who need to wear uncomfortable footwear. There are no laws against barefoot driving, and it is more comfortable to kick your shoes off and drive with your bare feet. Women’s dress shoes, including high-heeled shoes, wedge heels, or other open-toed shoes with uneven soles, can lead to the inaccurate application of pressure to your brake and gas pedals.
It is worth noting that depending on the motor vehicle you are driving, it is not always the safest choice to drive barefoot.
Driving without wearing shoes allows for more accurate pressure application on your gas and brake pedal, but the same can be said about flip-flops and other types of sensible shoes. As long as the shoe soles are even and flat, a driver has more control over those wearing high heels.
However, it is worth noting that there are more laws related to driving with flip-flops than there are with barefoot driving. Wearing flip flops poses a higher risk of your foot slipping off the pedal and it getting caught between your foot and the slipper, which could cause a distraction for drivers and lead to an accident than if you were driving barefoot.
Driving With High Heels
While high heels are not the optimal choice for driving, women who attend formal events and other occasions often wear certain shoes that may cause a car accident due to inaccurate pedal pushing. Excessive force on brake pedals can cause swerving or be rear-ended.
A high-heeled shoe on a gas pedal also doesn’t make the best combination. The driver’s ability to estimate the pressure needed to apply on the pedal is drastically lessened by the excess space between the pedal and the actual foot.
While authorities don’t necessarily discourage barefoot driving, they encourage everyone to opt for more safe footwear. As do car insurers regarding accidents, as it is not illegal to drive barefoot, it is not legal for your insurer to deny insurance payout or raise premiums if you were driving and had gotten involved in an accident without any shoes on.
Car insurance rates are affected by various factors, including;
- Your car
- Your driving habits
- Your driving record
- The demographic you fall under (such as age)
- The anti-theft features your car possesses
The Legal and Illegal Practices of Insurers
Certain insurance products such as car insurance cannot raise premiums against those with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits these insurance products from using one’s disability to raise premiums.
However, it is legal for additional costs to be added for cars with vehicle modifications related to enhancing utility for those with disabilities. A van with a wheel-chair ramp might have a higher risk of sustaining damages from factors related to the permanent addition.
Wearing Shoes While Driving Your Motor Vehicle
Common sense tells us that the best driving shoes allow you to control the application of pressure on either pedal. Here are some footwear tips for drivers of motor vehicles and motorcycle riders:
While Driving a Car
- Wear shoes that have even soles.
- Don’t wear shoes with long laces that are untied.
- Make sure your laces are tied securely.
- Unsafe footwear includes heeled shoes for both men and women.
While Riding a Motorcycle
- Opt for close-toed shoes to add protection to your feet if you get into an accident.
- Never wear loose or long laces.
- Don’t wear damaged shoes where at least one has an exposed or open heel.
- Unsafe footwear includes anything that exposes too much of your feet or has any loose fabric attached to them.
- Do not ride your motorcycle with bare feet.
Remember, these tips also apply to cyclists who ride their bikes on open roadways.
Additionally, in Alabama, it is illegal to drive or ride a bike with an attached motor without wearing shoes. Below is a list of relevant laws regarding driving barefoot, flip-flops, and other shoes.
The Relevant Laws When You Drive Barefoot in the Different States
The local laws within each state differ, with local regulations implemented by police officers within each county. The state’s police departments must prioritize both the state laws and its county’s own laws regarding what is considered legal and illegal for the different types of motor vehicles.
Driving barefoot anywhere in the country is entirely legal, but it isn’t recommended in any state. Barefoot driving in California and Ohio is permissible with no extenuating regulations.
Why is Driving Barefoot Discouraged?
No state considers driving barefoot as reckless driving. Still, there have been reports of accidents occurring due to the driver’s bare feet being bitten by ants and other insects, which reduces the driver’s capacity to drive safely and is considered distracted driving. Additionally, a person can spill beverages that are either too hot or too cold during a drive, and a person’s reaction to these provocations can lead to unwarranted accidents.
The law discourages anything that can impair your ability to maneuver a car safely. Distracted driving can lead to severe injuries.
What Can Happen When You Drive Barefoot?
A person reacting to such instances can cause the sudden application of pressure to brake pedals and drive a car to spin out of control, and the same braking force could cause a vehicle to skid through multiple lanes of traffic. It could then be considered reckless driving.
Wearing anything that can cause distractions such as heavily tinted eyewear, uncomfortable loose fabrics, or other items that compromise your capacity to drive can lead to careless driving. Depending on what results from this negligence, driving barefoot can be considered reckless driving or reckless endangerment.
What to Expect in Case of a Car Accident When You Drive Barefoot?
Any accident that results in property damage, personal injury, or death can rack up felony or criminal charges to the individual responsible. Freak accidents related to driving barefoot are why all states discourage it even when the act is entirely legal.
When authorities apprehend motorists involved in accidents, the type of footwear the driver is wearing is always duly noted for reference. While it isn’t illegal to drive barefoot, chances are the respondents will still ask why and note the response because it can be considered unusual behavior.
The highway patrol holds more responsibility than other local authorities in enforcing traffic regulations when it comes to highway safety.
It is Not Illegal to Drive Barefoot Except for Motorcycle Drivers
There are no laws that make driving barefoot illegal for cars, trucks, and buses. However, regarding motorcycles, it is illegal to drive without shoes. You cannot legally drive a 2-wheel motor vehicle in the state of Alabama with bare feet, flip-flops, and similar footwear.
Getting Caught Driving Without Shoes
In states like New Mexico, New Hampshire, West Virginia, South Carolina, South Dakota, and North Dakota, an urban legend has led drivers to believe that it is illegal to drive without shoes. It is false as it is entirely legal to drive without shoes under state law.
It is illegal for a police officer to cite any driver for not wearing shoes under the guise of the law against driving barefoot. There is no law prohibiting driving without shoes, and it isn’t illegal to drive barefoot if you drive safely and avoid getting into accidents.
Who Renders the Verdict Regarding Reckless Driving?
The same urban legend about it being illegal to drive without shoes is heard around Utah. Under Utah law, the verdict regarding reckless driving is left to the authorities on-site. Only unusual aspects of one’s demeanor or impairment caused by elements on one’s person or inside the vehicle are cited. Any accident is still to be investigated.
Can You Still Be Charged Even When It Isn’t Illegal to Drive Barefoot?
It is still not illegal to drive barefoot, but if the authorities deem it the cause of an accident, you can and probably will be charged for it. You cannot be charged for driving any vehicle without shoes on, but it can and will be noted for reference in reckless driving charges launched against you.
It isn’t your shoes’ fault for not being on your feet, and it isn’t illegal to not have any shoes inside your car. Nonetheless, it is unusual for most people. Some authorities will point this out as suspicious behavior if you are involved in an accident, mainly resulting in injuries and casualties.
Official State Code Regarding Driving a Car Barefoot
The shoes are beside the point in these matters. The only reason they are taken into consideration is that respondents must take note of anything suspicious or unusual. Under most circumstances, it is uncommon to be barefoot.
In these situations and related topics, you can make arguments in your defense.
Important Examples Against Stretching Laws
While authorities can twist unusual behavior against a driver, like those who drive barefoot, blaming an accident on driving without shoes is still a stretch. There is nothing stated within the Michigan Vehicle Code of it being illegal to drive barefoot, but there have been instances where cases have been filed against those driving without shoes.
Also, the grip one’s skin has on pedals over that of a slippery sole. Those driving with bare feet also don’t have to worry about long laces getting caught in pedals. In these circumstances, defense attorneys have argued common sense about how driving with your bare feet gives you more control over a gas or brake pedal.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself?
As you can see, there is plenty you can argue against legal matters related to driving without shoes. All you need is to familiarize yourself with the law.
Suppose you have sustained any personal injuries while driving barefoot and are cited by your insurance company denying your insurance claims. In that case, you can contact the Kiley Law Group, a firm that specializes in personal injury.
Visit the Kiley Law Group Website
If you want a free consultation that includes an overall case evaluation, you can reach out to the firm today through text, call, or email.