Home Local InfoOfficial News Fact or Fiction? Driving with Flip-Flops or Shirtless, Illegal or not ?

Fact or Fiction? Driving with Flip-Flops or Shirtless, Illegal or not ?

by Loraine Gostling

DGT (Traffic Deparment) posted a document showing that as a general rule, is NOT illegal to drive with flip flops and without T-shirt.

Thanks to Andrea Lowe of N332 who translated this document.

Let´s share it!, and avoid more rumours about these questions.      

As usual, coinciding with the arrival of summer, doubts are being aired about whether it is infringing traffic regulations to drive in flip flops, barefoot, eating, drinking, putting on make-up, hanging your arm out of the window, being shirtless, or having music at high volume, to give just a few examples.

It is clear, however, that each year, new allegedly prohibited behaviours at the wheel are added to the list with this speculation having become a viral phenomenon already this summer.

In order to attempt to clarify what is a genuine cause for concern with reference to road traffic regulations, the facts laid out in several articles of the General Driving Law must be considered and taken into account:

Article 18.1. This is perhaps the most important point needed to clarify all of these issues. It states that “The driver of a vehicle is responsible for maintaining their personal freedom of movement, the required field of vision and to pay proper attention whilst driving, in order to ensure their own safety, the safety of other vehicle occupants and of other road users. For this reason, particular care must be taken to maintain a proper driving position and ensure that other passengers, and any objects or animals being transported are properly located so that there is no interference between the driver and any of them”.

Article 17.1. Related to the previous article, it is stated that “Drivers shall at all times be in a position of full control of and have responsibility for their vehicles “.

Article 3.1. This refers more directly to the act of driving, indicating that driving “should be conducted with diligence, and precautionary measures should be taken to avoid any damage within or outside of the vehicle, taking care not to put in danger either the driver or other occupants of the vehicle or any other road users. It is strictly forbidden to drive in a negligent or reckless manner.”

In view of the above-mentioned articles of law, the following is concluded:

1. The behaviours described at the beginning of this article do not in themselves constitute infraction of the rules. The regulations cannot foresee or make assumptions based on clothing, or any type of human activity while driving. Not only is impossible, is makes no sense to do so.

2. When the behaviours described impede the freedom of movement of the driver, or their control of the vehicle, or potentially put in danger the driver or other road users, they can constitute an infringement, and result in agents of the law reporting these facts when this happens. It is important to note that the resultant complaint is not caused by eating, drinking, going barefoot, etc., but because this activity has affected the safety of driving.

3. By applying common sense, it can be concluded that some assumptions are absurd. For example, if someone is driving without a t-shirt and has to stop abruptly, the belt will produce wounds on the skin. Or someone driving barefoot could have serious difficulties in activating the pedals of the vehicle. With regard to resting an elbow out of the window, it is impossible to determine whether the infringement occurs when it is two centimetres out, or ten…these are just a few examples of behaviours that it seems useful to expand upon.

Along with all the behaviours listed in the news articles that have been transmitted by means of the media or by social networks, other behaviours actually DO constitute infringement of traffic rules and regulations as expressly defined by law: These are as follows:-

■ Driving using any type of audio headset or headset connected to a receivers, audio players or other devices that reduces attention to driving – such as internet devices or television monitors,

■ Not driving in the right lane of a multi-lane road, without a justified reason.

■ Throwing in the road or in its immediate vicinity any objects that may cause fires, road accidents or hinder the free movement of traffic.

■ Not carrying the documentation for the driver or vehicle.

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