It’s common to drive barefoot or wear slides, flip-flops or sandals, especially as summer approaches, but if you’re caught, can the police fine you?
The law against using cell phones while driving in Australia is clear, but the rules regarding footwear are a little less known, as are restrictions on eating, drinking, applying makeup or vaping while driving.
Below, Daily Mail Australia looks at the rules you need to know in each state and territory.
Wear flip-flops, slides, high heels or go barefoot while driving
It is not illegal to drive barefoot in all states and territories and some drivers even claim that it allows for better control because the driver can feel the pedals more precisely.
There are also no laws against driving in stilettos, work boots, flip-flops or slides, but there is one major problem.
The police can fine a driver if they determine they are not in proper control of their vehicle.
This is particularly applicable if the driver has been involved in a collision.
Driving barefoot is not illegal in any state or territory, but police have the discretion to fine a driver if they believe they are not in proper control of their car.
Inappropriate shoes that could catch on the pedals, such as flip-flops, heels that are too big, or removing shoes and leaving them where they could interfere with the pedals are just a few examples.
Under Road Rule 297(1), which applies in all states and territories, drivers are required to “maintain appropriate control of their vehicle while driving”.
So, if your shoes or bare feet prevent you from maintaining control of a vehicle, you could face a very hefty fine.
In New South Wales, the fine is $481 and three demerit points, but increases sharply to $603 and four demerit points if the offense took place in a school zone.
In Victoria, drivers face a $387 fine and three demerit points for the same offense.
In Queensland, the Department of Transport and Main Roads has reminded people that eating or drinking while driving can also “seriously” distract drivers.
“You can be fined $575 and receive three demerit points if you fail to control your vehicle properly – or drive without due care and attention,” the department wrote on Facebook.
“So make sure you don’t drive with one hand or take your eyes off the road to eat. Better stop somewhere safe to enjoy this sandwich!’
The fine for the same offense is even higher in Western Australia: drivers are forced to pay $600 if they commit the offense, which is a very expensive meal.
The same applies to motorcycles and scooters, for which only a helmet is legally required, but for safety reasons appropriate footwear must always be worn.
Eating or drinking while driving
Again, similar rules apply to those who snack while driving.
It’s not specifically illegal, cars have cup holders for a reason, but if police determine that it has impacted a driver’s ability to control their vehicle, they can fine them.
For example, in 2018, a hungry teenager was fined $300 after she was photographed eating a bowl of cereal while driving on a Perth road.
A woman was fined in Perth in 2018 after going viral while eating cereal while driving on a busy Perth road.
A photo of her taken by a 6PR radio listener appeared to show the young woman steering the car with her knees.
The “grain violator” also received three demerit points.
Drinking and driving is a completely different matter and drunk driving laws apply.
Apply makeup or vape
If a driver is distracted while driving or does not pay attention to the road and other cars around them, they can expect a hefty fine if spotted by the police.
Applying makeup in the rearview mirror in a moving car is also likely to result in a fine.
Applying a little lipstick or taking a drag on a vape isn’t likely to attract attention as long as the driver doesn’t take their eyes off the road.
But carefully applying eyeliner in the rearview mirror or unwrapping a vape could land them in hot water, even if they’re temporarily stopped in traffic or at a red light.
In short, while there is no rule making any of this illegal, it is up to the police office to decide whether a driver is in proper control of their vehicle.