Is it illegal to drive with a broken leg or foot?

The laws of common sense should tell us loud and clear that it isn’t a great idea to jump behind the wheel with a broken bone.
Iain Kelly
Contributing Journalist
CarsGuide

7 Feb 2018 • 4 min read

Yes and no, as it's not specifically illegal to drive with a broken leg or foot, but if a doctor advises you not to drive then you legally cannot get behind the wheel. 

The old saying is that Murphy (as in, he of Murphy’s Law fame) comes knocking at the worst possible time for you. So, if you’re going to wind up breaking your leg, ankle or foot in some unfortunate incident, it will probably happen right when you need to drive Great Aunt Mable to her very important medical procedure. And if before Aunt Mable's procedure, a doctor advises you shouldn’t or cannot drive, then you legally cannot get behind the steering wheel until they also clear you.

If your broken bone is in your right leg, you will likely have one heck of a battle getting a doctor to sign off on you being able to drive.

The laws of common sense should tell us loud and clear that it isn’t a great idea to jump behind the wheel with a broken bone in our right or left legs. This is because you need to maintain full articulation of your feet, ankles, and legs, to safely control the car through the pedals.

If you can’t safely slam your feet on the brakes in an emergency (because your broken foot or leg hurts) then you run the risk of killing someone.

Even if a doctor doesn’t tell you not to drive, the police can still pull you over and fine you if they believe you are not in full control of your vehicle.

On top of this, they can request you undergo a medical assessment and present written confirmation of a doctor clearing you to drive if they don’t believe you can maintain full control of your car.

As for insurance, you really need to read the Product Disclosure Statement from your insurer to check it isn’t an exclusion under your policy. We personally haven’t it listed as an exclusion in our time around car insurance, however most insurance policies will be voided if your doctor has advised you not to drive.

While we found this link to the NSW rules helpful most other states and territories don’t have similarly well laid-out information available.

Victoria tells you to check with a doctor before driving, while this legal blog backs up the belief your ability to drive has to be okayed by a doctor rather than a policeman or your local transport department.

This article is not intended as legal advice. You should check with your local road authority to verify the information written here is suitable to your situation before driving in this manner.

Have you ever needed to drive with a broken leg? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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