Every week, LawPath will take the time to respond to general legal questions in Australia that still remained unanswered. This week’s post will review the common misconceptions regarding driving in Australia without shoes.

Is Driving Without Shoes Illegal in Australia?

Most citizens are well aware of commonly known laws that state driving under the influence with an alcohol level over .5 is illegal; regardless of age, seat restraints must be worn correctly; or license and registration in conjunction with proof of insurance always need to present while the vehicle is in motion. However, there are laws that are harder to adhere to simply because they are not commonly known, such as driving a vehicle without shoes. After receiving several questions on the issue we went out to determine whether driving without shoes is illegal in Australia.

Enforcing The Law

Although there are laws in place to protect the well-being of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians and the number of car accidents and fatalities have decreased by 2.9% since 2013, averages still remain high. In the year 2014, there were 466 single-car accidents, 438 multiple-car accidents and 150 others that included pedestrians.  To lower that, lawmakers and police enforcement have been more stringent in a means to prevent the frequency of road accidents. Indicting those who cause danger by not wearing the proper foot attire while driving is included in this.

All ten Australian states and territories agree with no exact statement outlawing the use of inappropriate footwear  while driving, under Australian Road Rules 2008, rule 297, the driver must still take all precautions to drive in the safest manner possible. If in the unfortunate event that an accident does occur further investigations will be taken to inquire whether or not the driver’s footwear (or lack of) played a role in the cause of the accident.

Those who are found guilty can be sentenced to pay a substantial fine along with the possibility of further punishment – depending on the severity of the damage.

But is it illegal to drive without shoes?

Under every situation a driver should be vigilant, focused, and sober in order to drive with as little distractions as possible. If driving with shoes such as thongs  increases risk due to the straps’s ability to catch on the pedal then it’s a good idea to change them. The same can be said for using the vehicle without shoes, although this will depend on one’s control of their vehicle in such a situation. For example, if a driver feels as though operating a vehicle with certain shoes poses a threat, driving without the use of shoes is actually advisable.  Shoes such as stilletos, steel-toed work boots and certain flats may inhibit one’s control over a vehicle, therefore a good case could be made for driving without shoes.

Ultimately, to avoid adding another factor to be considered in incidents, wear proper shoes. You’d hate for inappropriate footwear to put you at fault in the event of a car accident.

Inappropriate footwear or none at all can be considered a factor in the event of a crash.

Dominic Woolrych

Dominic is the CEO of LawPath, dedicating his days to making legal easier, faster and more accessible to businesses. Dominic is a recognised thought-leader in Australian legal disruption, and was recognised as a winner of the 2015 Australian Legal Innovation Index.