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Is it illegal to drive without a front or rear bumper?

It’s easy to do some damage to your bumpers - and pretty tempting to drive while you’re waiting to get one replaced.

As a matter of safety, yes, it is illegal to drive without bumpers.

As they’re two of your first lines of defence on the road, it’s easy to do some damage to your front and rear bumpers — and pretty tempting to drive while you’re waiting to get one or the other replaced. But even though there’s no specific penalty for driving without a front or rear bumper, most state road authorities imply that driving without front or rear bumpers is illegal.

NSW Roads & Maritime Services says that front and rear bumpers positioned at the correct heights are part of the minimum design features that “safeguard persons travelling in the vehicle in the event of it crashing”. They also protect occupants in other vehicles involved in a crash.

It’s safe to assume that if police saw you on the road without a front or rear bumper, or with illegally modified bumpers, you’d be at risk of getting a $110 fine and two demerit points for driving a vehicle that doesn’t comply with standards of roadworthiness.

Like NSW, in Vic you can assume front and rear bumpers are considered an essential part of safety in the event of a car crash. According to VicRoads information on fines and penalties, if you take a vehicle on the road that doesn’t comply with roadworthiness standards in Vic, you’re risking a $396 fine.

According to the Tasmanian Transport’s traffic offences list, you’re risking a $159 fine and as per the Queensland government’s demerit points schedule, you’re risking a $126 fine.

The Australian Capital Territory’s government has an extensive traffic infringement document that details multiple offences for using unsafe and unroadworthy vehicles, multiple of which could apply to a car without front or rear bumpers.

We couldn’t find any specific legislation for South Australia or the Northern Territory but both have clear vehicle standards and it’s safe to assume that, as your front and rear bumpers are essential safety components on your vehicle, driving without either could get you pulled over. There was also a lack of information from Western Australia’s road authority but if you’d like to know more you can call the WA Demerit point hotline on 1300 720 111.

It’s important to be on top of what’s covered in your specific insurance agreement but as a general rule, driving a car that could be in any way considered unroadworthy or modified without your insurance provider’s knowledge is a risk. In the event of an accident, your contract could be voided on these grounds, so always be wary of getting on the road with a faulty vehicle even if you feel like you’ll be fine.

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 risked it and driven without a front or rear bumper? Tell us in the comments below.