Fall River Driver Makes Themselves Comfy, But Is This Legal?
Over near the Dunkin' at the corner of Rodman and Hartwell Streets in Fall River was something you don't quite see every day: a driver with their foot out the window. The driver's side window, to be exact.
Now, I've seen passengers with their feet up on the dashboard, which is in fact not illegal but not recommended by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but never have I seen this before. Instantly, four things came to mind:
- There's no way this person is tall.
- Where are their shoes?
- This person clearly fears nothing.
- I wonder how legal or illegal this is?
I had to get down to the bottom of it. There's no way a cop would see this and just let them continue on driving.
First of all, for years we've been duped to believe that it was illegal to drive without shoes to begin with. Whether you're barefoot or rocking your socks, as unsafe as it appears to me, it's actually not illegal. According to Mass.Gov, there is nowhere within the driver's manual that indicated anything about it being illegal to drive without shoes.
However, after speaking with former Massachusetts State Trooper Alan Garcia, it turns out that what this person did was in fact illegal, and if caught by the police, they could be issued a ticket for violating the rules of the road.
"It's called an impeded operation," Trooper Garcia told Fun 107 after observing the photo of the leg hanging out the driver's side window. "An operator must maintain full control of the car. That person would not be able to take immediate action to avoid a crash."
Garcia is referring to Mass. Chapter 90 laws under impeded operation which states the following:
"Any individual who operates a motor vehicle recklessly, or operates such a vehicle negligently so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered shall be held in violation of this law."
According to Mass.Gov, the penalty for having your foot hang out the driver's side window while simultaneously driving will result in a fine ranging from $20-$200, mandatory minimum imprisonment for two weeks (no more than two years), or both a fine and imprisonment.
"The person may also be charged with reckless operation at the officer's discretion," Garcia said. "If an accident occurred, the person may be charged with a more serious charge."
My final thoughts: first of all, nobody wants to smell your feet or your dirty socks. This is just discourteous to the people behind you or who are downwind. Secondly, you're not only putting yourself at risk, but also others around you.
"We lose sight of one of the most dangerous threats to life as well as other's lives: A dangerous driver," Garcia concluded.
All in all, don't be that person, keep your legs inside the moving vehicle at all times. That shouldn't be too much to ask for.