We sought to quantify agreement by different assessors of the AO classification for distal fractures of the radius. Thirty radiographs of acute distal radial fractures were evaluated by 36 assessors of varying clinical experience. Our findings suggest that AO 'type' and the presence or absence of articular displacement are measured with high consistency when classification of distal radial fractures is undertaken by experienced observers. Assessors at all experience levels had difficulty agreeing on AO 'group' and especially AO 'subgroup'. To categorise distal radial fractures according to joint displacement and AO type is simple and reproducible. Our study examined only whether distal radial fractures could be consistently classified according to the AO system. Validation of the classification as a predictor of outcome will require a prospective clinical study.