Is it illegal to drive without a passenger side mirror?
Yes, Australian Vehicle Standards demand that you drive with a passenger side mirror at all times.
Having your passenger side mirror swiped or in some way damaged would have to be one of the most common risks of parking your car on the street. How many of us have made our way back to our car at some point, only to find that someone has done a dodgy and damaged the side mirror without leaving a note?
Since it’s not an uncommon occurrence and it can be such a pain to get fixed, it can be tempting to get on the road without both of your side mirrors in working order. But side mirrors are essential elements in the safe design of vehicles; without them, you can't see what's happening on either side of your car, and so having rearview and side mirrors is a legal requirement for every vehicle, according to the Australian Vehicle Standards.
According to the New South Wales Roads & Maritime Services demerits schedule, if you get on the road without a side mirror, you’re looking at a $112 fine for driving a vehicle that doesn’t comply with standards of roadworthiness.
In Victoria, as per VicRoads fines and penalties information, driving without a side mirror would put you at risk of getting pulled over for a similarly generic road rule; you can’t use a vehicle that’s unsafe or has been modified or doesn’t comply with standards of registration. But the penalties in Vic seem to be much higher, as the fine for this is $396.
According to the Queensland government’s demerit points schedule, you’re looking at a $130 fine and one demerit point if you drive, park or permit use of a vehicle that doesn’t comply with Australian vehicle standards.
The Australian Capital Territory government’s extensive traffic infringement document goes into more detail about all the different parts of a vehicle that can be non-compliant when it’s used - and the penalties associated with driving non-compliant vehicles. For driving without a passenger side mirror, you’re looking at a $193 fine in the ACT. The Tasmanian Transport’s traffic offences list also specifies that using or permitting use of a car that doesn’t meet the standards for driver viewing requirements will set you back a $198.75 fine.
We couldn’t find any specific legislation for South Australia, Western Australia or the Northern Territory but since Australian Vehicle Standards require all cars to have passenger side mirrors in order to give drivers a safe view of their surroundings, it’s safe to assume that driving without a side mirror could get you into trouble.
You should always consult your specific insurance agreement for insurance advice, but as a general guide, driving without a side mirror could definitely impact your insurance coverage. Any indication that you’ve been driving a car that isn’t considered safe or roadworthy could void your insurance agreement - regardless of whether those faults had a bearing on any accident you were involved in.
This article is not intended as legal advice. You should check with your local road authority to verify the information written here.