Jason Stephens | March 27, 2020 | Car Accidents
For many people, their vehicle is an extension of their home. They kick off their shoes as soon as they get home or get into their vehicle. However, is driving barefoot legal in Texas? Technically, there are no laws preventing you from driving barefoot, though there are a few safety issues to consider.
Our car accident lawyers take a closer look at this question, including why you might want to keep your shoes on in the car even if the law says you can drive barefoot.
Is Driving Barefoot Legal in Texas?
It may be unlawful for you to enter some buildings without shoes, but there is not a law that prevents you from driving barefoot. Even if you cross state lines, you do not need to worry about driving without shoes. No state in the country bans driving without shoes.
However, is it safe to drive without shoes? That question is slightly more complicated to answer.
Driving With or Without Shoes – Is It Safe to Drive Barefoot?
Everyone seems to have a different opinion. Some people believe that driving barefoot is just as safe as driving while wearing shoes. Other people believe that wearing certain shoes can be more dangerous than driving barefoot.
The key is to examine how bare feet or certain shoes can impact driving ability. For instance, driving in socks or stockings could increase the chance that your foot slips off the pedal, causing a dangerous situation. However, wearing slick-bottom shoes could also result in the same situation.
Wearing flip-flops or slippers while driving could cause a problem. Flip-flops can slip off or bend, causing the shoe to become jammed under or beneath the pedals. High-heeled shoes can become stuck in the mat making it difficult to control pedals.
Of course, the same argument could be made about heavy boots or large shoes. Depending on the vehicle, these footwear choices could cause problems if they become wedged between or under the pedals.
The fact is that any shoe could be a potential problem if it becomes jammed under or between the pedal. The result could be unintentional braking or uncontrolled accelerations. The same applies if your bare feet slip off the pedals.
The Virginia DMV suggests that drivers wear sneakers or low heel flat shoes when driving. Car and Driver provides information on various driving shoes that you may want to consider. The bottom line is that, until Texas enacts laws regarding footwear while driving, the choice is up to the individual driver.
Why Should Drivers Care About Footwear While Driving?
The most important reason a driver should be concerned about footwear while driving is safety. You want to ensure that your choice of shoes or no shoes does not impede your ability to control the vehicle safely. If your shoes or driving barefoot impacts your driving ability, you could increase your risk of causing a car accident.
In a car crash, all factors are carefully examined to determine how the accident occurred. If a driver’s shoe slipped off or became stuck under a pedal, this factor could have contributed to the cause of a crash. If a driver was barefoot and his foot slipped off the pedal, driving barefoot could be a factor in the cause of the crash.
While it may seem unimportant, the choice to drive barefoot or wear certain shoes could impact a personal injury claim. Texas comparative fault laws state each person’s responsibility for the cause of an accident is factored into the amount of compensation the person may receive for a personal injury claim.
In other words, if you have any responsibility for causing a car crash, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for causing the crash.
How Does Comparative Fault Work?
For example, let’s assume a person pulls out in front of you at a red light. You try to stop, but your foot slips off the brake pedal because you are only wearing socks. Instead, you hit the gas pedal and crash into the car.
The driver of the other vehicle is obviously at fault for failing to yield the right of way. However, the evidence reveals you accelerated just before the collision. The insurance company investigates and discovers what occurred.
The case goes to trial. You suffered severe injuries, which resulted in substantial financial losses, pain, and suffering. The value of your claim is $200,000.
However, the insurance company produces evidence that your foot slipping off the pedal resulted in the accident being more severe. The jury agrees and assigns 30 percent fault to you. Under comparative fault laws, your compensation is reduced by 30 percent.
If you were 51 percent or more at fault, you could not recover any compensation for the accident.