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Is Driving Barefoot Illegal in California?

In What States Is Driving Barefoot Illegal?

An unspoken rule of the roads is that driving barefoot is dangerous. However, it is NOT illegal to drive barefoot in California as well as any state, for that matter. Not a single state in the US has laws against driving barefoot, although, some have advocated for or against this practice. Frankly, many people drive barefoot, and it’s in their right because no laws prohibit driving barefoot in California, therefore, it is not illegal.

In fact, driving with certain types of shoes could arguably be more dangerous than driving barefoot. Driving while wearing the footwear below could pose a safety risk to you, your passengers, and people with whom you share the roads:

  • Flip flops
  • Open heeled sandals
  • High heels
  • Wedge heels
  • Thick soled boots or shoes
  • Shoes with long laces
  • Shoes without traction or with slippery soles
  • Open-toed shoes
  • Slip-on shoes

You may want to consider bringing a backup pair of shoes for the road, especially if your profession requires you to wear certain shoes. For instance, a female flight attendant who’s required to wear heels may want to bring a pair of sneakers for the drive to work, and a surf instructor who wears flip flops to work may want to do the same.

Is It Safe to Drive Barefoot?

Since you now know that it is perfectly legal to drive barefoot in California, you should still be mindful of the risks of doing so. Just because driving barefoot is allowed does not mean that you should be reckless, either. California Highway Patrol officers strongly support drivers wearing proper shoes while driving, regardless of the law. As such, take a look at the potential dangers of driving barefoot

  • Bare feet may slide off the pedal more easily than with shoes, especially when wet.
  • You may not be able to apply the same braking force in bare feet as you can while wearing a pair of shoes.
  • It could be considered distracted driving, especially if driving barefoot causes an accident. You could also be ticketed if a police officer suspects driving barefoot was the cause.
  • In the event of an accident or other incident, having bare feet leaves you at additional risk of injury and could limit your ability to retreat to safety quickly.

Driving Barefoot & Reckless Driving

Although you can’t get a traffic ticket nor a criminal charge for driving barefoot, you could potentially be charged with reckless driving or suffer civil penalties if it leads to an accident. Worse, you could get vehicular manslaughter charges if driving barefoot results in another person’s death.

Negligent or reckless acts such as drunk driving, speeding, improper turns, and, in this case, driving barefoot, that leads to another person’s death could ultimately result in vehicular manslaughter. A conviction for this offense carries a jail sentence ranging from 1 to 10 years.

Although less serious than vehicular manslaughter, a reckless driving charge could land you with both criminal and administrative penalties upon a conviction. A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway or off-street parking facility in a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others is guilty of reckless driving, which is punishable by 5 to 90 days in jail and fines ranging from $145 to $1,000. In addition, a convicted person could get points added to their driving records, be required to participate in traffic safety courses, and, in the worst-case scenario, get their license suspended.

With this in mind, if you are facing criminal charges as a result of driving barefoot, let us know. As former prosecutors, our attorneys can maximize your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your case because of our invaluable insights into both sides of the criminal justice system.

Wait no longer to fight to protect your freedom and driving privileges. Contact us at (805) 467-6060 today!