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Driving Barefoot: Is It Legal?

"Will this get me in trouble?"

Admit it. At one time or another, we’ve all done something that had us running to a search engine later asking, “Was this legal?” Often, these are purely inconsequential acts such as accidentally double parking or unknowingly wandering onto private property. With so many laws, it’s easy to have questions about certain acts that, while arguably mischievous, might not rise to the seriousness of a crime. For many, the act of driving barefoot can fall into this category.

Suppose you’re driving down the road one breezy summer day. You’re wearing your favorite sandals, but something is amiss. The heels of your sandals keep getting caught under pedals. You know you’d be more comfortable, a better driver even, if only you could take those darn sandals off. But you’re a law-abiding citizen that isn’t up to speed on the latest laws about driving with bare feet.

What are you to do? Fortunately, Super Lawyers has the answers you seek.

What You Need To Know

  • Driving a motor vehicle while barefoot is not considered an illegal act.
  • While not illegal, some state congresses have condemned the act as unsafe.
  • The fact that the operator of a vehicle was barefoot at the time of the accident can be a legally operative fact in criminal reckless driving cases or civil suits.
  • Operating a motorcycle while barefoot is illegal in the state of Alabama.

Is Driving Barefoot Legal?

Suppose you have driven barefoot but kept that information locked inside out of fear you’ve committed a crime. In that case, you can likely take a huge sigh of relief right about now. Driving barefoot is typically not a crime, and many states don’t even have statutory language on the matter one way or the other.

Below is a list of where fourteen state congresses have landed on the matter of driving barefoot. If your state isn’t listed below, you can assume it either endorses the practice or currently doesn’t have a statute on the issue:

  • Alabama: It is legal to operate a motor vehicle barefoot. However, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle barefoot.
  • Arizona: It is legal to drive barefoot but can be cited as a contributing factor should you be involved in an accident at the time. This can potentially lead to both criminal and civil penalties.  
  • Arkansas: It is legal to drive barefoot but can be cited as a contributing factor should you be involved in an accident at the time. This can potentially lead to both criminal and civil penalties. 
  • California: It is legal to drive barefoot but can be cited as a contributing factor should you be involved in an accident at the time. This can potentially lead to both criminal and civil penalties. 
  • Indiana: It is not illegal to drive barefoot, but the state condemns the act as unsafe.
  • Iowa: It is not illegal to drive barefoot, but the state condemns the act as unsafe.
  • Missouri: It is not illegal to drive barefoot, but the state condemns the act as unsafe.
  • Nevada: It is legal to drive barefoot but can be cited as a contributing factor should you be involved in an accident at the time. This can potentially lead to both criminal and civil penalties. 
  • Ohio: It is not illegal to drive barefoot, but the state condemns the act as unsafe.
  • Tennessee: At the state level, it is not illegal to drive barefoot, but it is prohibited by local regulation in some counties.
  • Virginia: It is not illegal to drive barefoot, but the state condemns the act as unsafe.
  • Wyoming: It is not illegal to drive barefoot, but the state condemns the act as unsafe.

Should I Talk To An Attorney

Remember the above scenario where you were driving in sandals? Suppose you slid those sandals off and, for a few brief moments, enjoyed the comfort of barefoot driving. Now suppose that your delightful afternoon drive was interrupted by an unfortunate fender bender. If you’re in a state like Nevada, the fact that you were driving barefoot could have legal consequences.

If you have questions involving your own legal situation, there is never a bad time to consult with an attorney. When you need legal assistance urgently, you should consider the services of a third-party database such as Super Lawyers.

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