Driving in flip flops isn’t an offence, but driving carelessly is

Published: 25th Jul 2019

In brief

Claim

Driving in flip flops could land you a £5,000 fine, 9 points and a driving ban.

Conclusion

Driving in flip flops doesn’t carry any penalties by itself, but if it led to careless driving or endangered other road users then these penalties could apply.

“Be warned driving in flip flops can land you £5000 fine, 9 points and a ban!”

Families Online website, 24 May 2019

An article from the website Families Online, detailing how driving in flips flops could land you a fine, points on your driving licence and a ban, has been shared almost 70,000 times in total on Facebook.

The article is very similar to this piece published in the Sun, just a few days earlier.

To be clear, it isn’t illegal to drive in flip flops (which the Families Online and Sun articles both make clear). What could lead to penalties is if the flip flops prevent you from driving safely.

Rule 97 of the Highway Code advises that “Before setting off. You should ensure that… clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”.

While wearing flip flops to drive isn’t illegal, doing so could contribute to something that is an offence, for example “careless and inconsiderate driving”. Police can issue a fixed penalty notice on the spot—which amounts to a fine of £100 and three points on the driver’s licence—in “low harm” cases. The driver has the option of refusing the fine and choosing to go to court instead. In more serious cases police can report the driver to be summonsed to court.

The maximum penalty for these offences is a fine of £5,000, possible disqualification from driving and between three and nine points on your licence.

If your case goes to court and you are sentenced then one of the factors that determines the extent of any fine, points and driving ban is how culpable you were in the offence.

This article is part of our work factchecking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true as even though wearing flip flops while driving isn’t an offence if it causes you to drive carelessly then these penalties could apply.

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