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While wearing a medical boot: To drive or not to drive?

The headline asks the question at the center of a vehicular manslaughter case in California. Last September, a man caused a San Francisco pedestrian accident that is being blamed on his supposed negligence related to his injury. The prosecution believes that the driver, 60, was negligent because he drove while wearing a medical boot.

Drivers tend to drive with their dominant foot, most commonly the right foot. We use our right foot for the brake and the gas. What do you think? Would you be able to drive safely with your non-dominant foot? If you were to cause an accident by doing so, should you be held responsible either criminally and/or civilly?

The defendant from the San Francisco incident had an injured right foot and was, therefore, wearing a walking boot at the time of the accident. That boot didn't stop him from driving. He just was using his left foot instead of his right when he ran over and killed a 60-year-old pedestrian.

It's that decision that is being labeled as criminal negligence. In his defense, the driver insists that he felt confident in his driving ability with his left foot. He also appears to be trying to place some blame on his doctor, whom he claims didn't specifically tell him not to drive with the boot. The doctor says that if he had been asked, he would have advised his patient not to drive.

This criminal case is still underway, and the San Francisco Chronicle doesn't indicate whether a civil case resulted from the fatal pedestrian accident. When there is an update to this story, we will keep you informed.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Driver denies negligence in crosswalk fatality," Vivian Ho, July 12, 2012

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