Could You Be Fined For A Defective Number Plate?

The DVLA sets the regulations for how a number plate must appear on a vehicle.  Failure to display a correct plate can result in police intervention and possibly even a fine of £1,000.  Don’t get caught out. Here is a list of well-documented issues that has compiled which illustrates what a motorist should try and avoid when it comes to number plate compliance.

  • It is an offense to obscure a number plate either intentionally or unintentionally so if your registration is covered in mud and rock salt, then clean it off.  Likely your headlights are filthy too and this can have serious safety implications
  • You must have a number plate both front and rear which complies with the DVLA’s rules
  • If you are towing a vehicle then the trailer or caravan should have a rear number plate which matches exactly the registration on the towing vehicle
  • Drivers have been stoped for registration plates with the incorrect font and spacing which is also not correct; this completely changes the appearance of the plate making it harder for ANPR – Automatic Number Plate Recognition – to read
  • Your car could fail the MOT if the registration plates are not displayed correctly
  • Modifications to a number plate can result in a police stop and ticket.  Reducing the plate size down to what is known as a ‘baby plate’ and moving it away from its central location on the vehicle, can result in prosecution

Number plate vital statistics

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  • The number plate must be made from reflective material
  • The front plate to have black characters on a white background
  • The rear plate to have black characters on a yellow background
  • There must be no patterning to the background
  • Characters must be 79mm tall
  • All characters must be 50mm wide other than the number 1 or the letter, I
  • What is called the character stroke, essentially the depth or the thickness of the black print, must be 14mm
  • Spacing between the characters is set at 1mm
  • The main space which sits between the age identifier and the three random letters at the end so the central space, should be 33mm
  • The margins around the lettering and numbers so top, bottom and the two sides of the plate must be 11mm
  • The vertical space between the age identifier and the three random letters is stipulated at 19mm

Some little known facts

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  • Number plates are allowed to be in 3D
  • If you do have a personalized or private plate then you should notify your motor insurer, failure to do so could invalidate your cover
  • In the event that your car bearing private plate is stolen or written off, the process of any insurance claim means that the car or what is left of it, passes in ownership to your insurer – this will also include any private plate.  What remains of your car and the plate could end up in the crusher unless you act quickly and make your insurer aware that you want to keep the plate

All the relevant information about displaying a number plate both standard and private is available on the DVLA website.  

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