Answer: we cannot find a single law in any state in the United States which prohibits driving with sandals.
That being said, a driver could still receive a citation for driving with sandals.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Is It Illegal To Drive With Sandals? (Explained)
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Rules of the Road Generally
Each state has its own traffic laws, and the specifics can vary from state to state.
While driving with sandals (or even barefoot) may have been worthy of a traffic ticket in the past, most states have moved away from creating endless laws about what can and cannot be done while driving.
Instead, most states have moved to more general laws that mandate that drivers operate their car in a reasonable and safe manner.
For example, in Arizona, the state does not prohibit lane changes in intersections, despite the long held belief that such a movement is illegal.
Instead, the traffic code states:
A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.Arizona Revised Statutes
This gives officers the freedom to issue a citation if the movement was unreasonable or unsafe.
Driving With Sandals
If there are no laws about driving with sandals (or barefoot), then how could a driver get cited for sandal driving?
If driving with sandals was unreasonable or unsafe, or placed property or persons in danger, the driver could get cited.
For example, let’s say that the pedals in the car (gas pedals, brakes, clutch) where extremely slippery.
If a foot covered in sandals failed to accurately and adequately operate the pedals (like feet slip off the sides), and the resulting driving is erratic or produces a wreck, the driver could get a ticket specifically for the sandal driving.
However, it’ll probably be called something like “failure to follow the the basic rule” or “careless driving.”
Sandals can slip off and become wedged under the brakes, making it impossible to completely depress the brake to slow or stop the car.
Working to dislodge the errant sandal from under one of the pedals also represents a time of danger for the driver and others on the road (distraction, having to look away from the road or even reach down to the floor mat).
Frankly, there are many other kinds of shoes that seem like they would be more dangerous or difficult to drive in than sandals, such as high heels, very large or bulky boots, or fuzzy slippers.
Could You Go To Jail For Driving With Sandals?
The simple act of driving with sandals is unlikely to result in jail time.
However, if your behavior rose to the level of a criminal act while driving with sandals, then yes, you could go to jail.
This is especially the case if you were under the influence of intoxicants, traveling at a high rate of speed, distracted, or street racing.
If you are concerned about criminal charges associated with your driving, every lawyer would recommend that you contact a criminal defense lawyer in your state for state specific advice in your case.
Even if you don’t think you’ll need a lawyer or be able to afford a retained lawyer in your case, early consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your state could prevent you from making your case worse and give you guidance about what to do next.
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