A man who can't use his legs has been charged with dangerous driving after being caught using a shortened walking stick to operate his car.

Police said the Manurewa man "took dangerous driving to a new level''.

The man's licence allowed him to operate only a vehicle with hand-held controls, because he had no use of his legs.

"He was found to be in a regular vehicle, without hand controls, but using a shortened walking stick to operate the brake and accelerator," Sergeant Mark Fleming of Counties Manukau police said.

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"Needless to say this was a very surprising thing to come across and we are shocked at his blatant disregard for his own safety and the safety of other road users."

The driver, who had held a learner licence since 2002, was caught at an automatic number plate recognition checkpoint this morning.

He had two passengers, neither of whom were licensed to drive.

"Operating a vehicle with a stick is an extremely dangerous practice and it would be impossible to safely control a vehicle in this way," Mr Fleming said.

Police said automatic plate recognition allowed them to quickly scan all passing vehicles, ensuring they could identify dangerous drivers and wanted criminals without disrupting traffic flow.

A 32-year-old man has been charged with dangerous driving and will appear in Manukau District Court.