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Old 07-12-2012, 07:24 PM   #1
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Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

Having spent several weeks last summer with a boot on my right foot, I found this story sobering. A man in San Francisco was driving with his left foot on the gas and brake because he had his right foot in a boot. He his a ped in a crosswalk, who died. He's on trial for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and claims the boot had nothing to do with the accident, that he simply didn't see the pedestrian.

I can't post the link to the article but here's an excerpt:

Wilcox , 60, said he had stopped and was turning left from Noe Street onto 14th Street on Sept. 6 and didn't see 60-year-old William Cox in the crosswalk. At the time, Wilcox was wearing a medical boot on his right foot and working the pedals of his sport utility vehicle with his left foot. Prosecutors later charged Wilcox with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, saying he was criminally negligent for driving in such a manner.

and

The physician testified that he never told Wilcox couldn't drive with the boot - but he also said he never told Wilcox he could drive with it. "I specifically do not tell patients if they can or cannot drive," Salk said. "If the patient asks, I tell them it's not safe."

I briefly tried driving like this with the boot and found it too awkward to use only my left foot, but I did drive several times with right foot (in boot) on the gas and left foot on the brake. After a few weeks my doctor said I could take off the boot to drive. I think he specifically told me not to drive with the boot on.

 
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:50 PM   #2
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

This is sad. It isn't safe to drive with a boot on the right foot and isnt safe to drive with the left foot. I know in some states (not sure if all), it's illegal to drive with the left foot or both feet together. I remember my doctor telling me "at least you can drive once you're off round the clock pain meds since its your left foot". So sad!
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:33 AM   #3
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

Yup, it's illegal to drive with the left foot OR to drive in a boot. Also, if you got into an accident, your insurance might refuse to cover it.

It's too bad most of the US has so few options for people who can't drive!

 
Old 07-13-2012, 08:19 PM   #4
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

This never really crossed my mind. I drive wearing something similar to PROGRESSIVE AFO, MODEL NUMBER 395. that one's not exactly like mine, but it's very close. While wearing that thing, I can lift my toes off of the gas pedal, with a couple of inches of travel, but it stops at 90^ when pushing down on the pedal. I usually hold my foot slightly flexed, then set it down to be able to use the gas pedal.
I haven't used my right foot for the brake pedal in 19 years now. It's almost impossible to move it from the gas pedal to the brake with any sense of urgency, so I use my left for stopping. I might add that I drive extremely smoothly with that method.
If I were to drive without my AFO and try to use both pedals without that on, even the slightest bump against the side of my injured foot will produce excruciating pain and I'm ready to go home.
I'll have to check with my local laws and see if it's illegal to drive like this. Good heads up with this information.

 
Old 07-17-2012, 06:13 AM   #5
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

Insurance would be invalidated over here if found to be driving impaired by this or anything else that could be interfere with normal driving. Insurance premiums are high enough without being raised any further by idiot drivers, thank you.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:13 AM   #6
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

Story update: driver was convicted of misdemeanor VMS and could get up to one year in jail. My comments.
  • Driving with a boot should not affect your perception abilities. If the driver failed to see a pedestrian because he didn't pay attention, he could be guilty of MVMS even without the boot. But I think in most cases, if you were not impaired in any way and "just didn't see the person" then you get a ticket instead of criminal charges. If you were chemically impaired or texting, you get charged with felony VMS.
  • Braking (or throttle control) with left foot gives less fine control unless you do it all the time. It means you sometimes stop more abruptly or take longer to stop than planned.
  • If you try to do both pedals with a booted foot, it slows reaction time and the boot can get stuck trying to move it from gas to brake.
  • The online comments to the story said the driver not only hit the pedestrian in the crosswalk, he kept going and only stopped after running him over. That could mean he is just an oblivious driver. Or it could mean once he hit the pedestrian, he panicked and briefly hit the gas instead of the brake.
  • Some people brake with the left foot even when both feet work fine. If you road race, some advanced drivers practice left foot braking to modulate gas and brake at the same time. If you drive a stickshift, the left foot is used whenever the car stops or starts. So controlling the car's motion with the left foot should not in itself be a crime.
  • If someone lost the right foot due to war or accident but still has a good left foot, is he/she no longer allowed to drive? Would he/she be required to drive with hand controls?

 
Old 07-20-2012, 09:08 AM   #7
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

In the UK, driving in a boot or less than the state of health under which you took out the insurance in the first place, this would invalidate your insurance. Therefore the minute you stepped into the car and set off from the kerb, you would be breaking the law as you cannot drive without insurance.

To even think of taking out a ton and a half of projectile with a boot in place is damnable.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:35 PM   #8
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

it is illegal to drive with boot on. i did and thank goodness nothing happened!

 
Old 07-21-2012, 05:25 AM   #9
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

Quote:
Originally Posted by LivesNearStore View Post
If you drive a stickshift, the left foot is used whenever the car stops or starts. So controlling the car's motion with the left foot should not in itself be a crime.
[/LIST]
Actually, the left foot is used for the clutch and the right foot for brake and accelerator. One learns to "heel and toe" the gas and brake when speed shifting and racing (trust me, I've driven a manual transmission for 50 years, raced sports cars and still have a sports car with manual). When I drive an automatic, I still hit the brake with my left foot trying to find the clutch! I don't drive an automatic that often. However, when I had my right great toe surgery last year, I had a car with auto that I could have driven. So I test drove it with my left foot prior to surgery. Just didn't work for me! I can see where that would take some training to get used to - even though I am very accustomed to using my left foot for the clutch. A surgical shoe might not be too diffult to use but a boot just wasn't feasible for me.

 
Old 07-21-2012, 10:40 PM   #10
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

This is ridiculous. I drove left-footed for over two years and I'm doing it again now after my latest surgery. I normally drive a stick, but I have access to an automatic and have absolutely no problem driving with my left foot. In fact, I had a hard time switching back to my right foot for a while after doing it for so long.

It should simply be a matter of whether or not you can drive safely; not which foot you happen to use. I've heard and read conflicting things about whether or not it's actually illegal. I think it depends on what state you're in.

I do think that it is unsafe to drive with most cam boots. I have five or six different boots, but can only safely drive with one of them. It isn't much wider than a workboot, and I normally drive a Jeep Wrangler, which has lots of room around the pedals.

 
Old 07-22-2012, 05:14 AM   #11
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

The lack of space to put the right foot was exactly my issue in the car that was available to me (Altima). The center console just gave me no place to put my right foot so that getting my left foot in place just didn;t work. I was stretching too much and too far. And I'm barely 5'2" so that just added to it. I think if there had been room, I could have done it. It was just to hard to reach across with the left foot.

 
Old 07-22-2012, 10:43 AM   #12
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Re: Driver charged with misdemeanor VMS for driving in boot

Yep, that definitely makes a difference. I have very long legs, so if I had to keep a cast or boot on, I had no problem resting it in the passenger area, or if I was able to remove the boot I might just tuck my right foot behind my left.

Because I have long legs I tend to drive vehicles that already have tons of legroom, like Jeeps, so that certainly helps. Right now I've switched from a manual Wrangler to a Cherokee automatic. My Wrangler is very sad.

 
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