Number Plates and the Law.
DVLA guidelines on how they should be displayed.
All registration marks including marks purchased through DVLA's sales scheme must be displayed in accordance with The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 (obtainable from Her Majesty's Stationery Office).
Rules for the display of number plates are set out in law, briefly these are: -
NUMBER PLATES FITTED AFTER 1 SEPTEMBER 2001
Number plates fitted after 1 September 2001 must display characters that meet the dimensions shown below.
The character width has been slightly reduced from 57mm to 50mm to accommodate the Euro-symbol on the number plate.
Number plates fitted before 1 September 2001 must display characters that meet the dimensions shown in one of the two groups below
Display of Vehicle Registration Marks on Imported Vehicles
|Space between characters||10mm|
|Space between characters||10mm|
|Space between groups||30mm|
|Top, side & bottom margin||11mm|
|Space between vertical lines||13mm|
From 1 September 2001 all new number plates must display the new mandatory font. Combined with the new format registration mark, number plates will become clearer and easier to remember.
Number plates fitted before 1 September 2001 need not be changed provided the character font used is substantially the same as the one shown above.
Number plates must be replaced if they have been customised with:
Since 1st September 2001 there has been an optional provision for the display of a Euro-plate for vehicles registered in the UK. The Euro-plate is a number plate that incorporates the symbol of the European Union (a circle of 12 stars on a blue background) with the national identification letters of the member states below. This symbol is located on the far left-hand side of the number plate.
Vehicles displaying this symbol no longer have to use the traditional oval shaped national identifier (GB) sticker when travelling within the European Union. All vehicles registered in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have, by international convention, the distinguishing sign GB.
The Government announced on 28 December 2001 the intention to permit the display of national flags and national identifiers on vehicle number plates. The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 are in the process of being amended. They will provide for the voluntary display of the Union flag, Scottish Saltire, Cross of St George and Red Dragon. Football team crests etc are not allowed.
The law states that, You must not alter, rearrange or misrepresent the letters or numbers
Characters must not be moved from one group to the other (e.g. A242 ABC must not be displayed as A242A BC).
Offences may result in any or all of the following:
A fine of up to £1,000
The British Standard sets out the physical characteristics on the number plate. This includes:
The British Standard also requires that a number plate must be marked with the following information: -
From 1 September 2001, number plates will take on a new format. The present age identifier prefix letters run out next year. Vehicles registered as new from 1 September 2001 will have number plates that include
The new format will make number plates easier to read and make them more memorable.
A New Font Style
From 1 March 2001, a new number plate font style is to be introduced. This will make it illegal for any vehicle being used on the public highway to have a number plate which does not conform to the new style. Motorists whose vehicles bear number plates which have been customised by means of stylised letters and figures such as italics or the placement of number plate fixing bolts must replace them or risk prosecution.
The new mandatory font style is based on the 'Charles Wright' font as shown below:
The overall width of characters will be reduced from 57mm to 50mm.
GB Euro symbol
From 1 March 2001, motorists may if they wish, incorporate the GB Euro symbol onto their number plates. The display of national emblems on number plates will be prohibited. If desired they may be displayed, as now, on other parts of the vehicle.
Many drivers alter the spacing and typefaces on number plates to spell names and messages. But some plates can make registration numbers unreadable by speed cameras.
Drivers who tamper with car number plates are likely to face prosecution in a new clampdown.
It is already an offence to make letters look like numbers and vice versa, but the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea has said it intends to crack down.
Thousands of personalised registration numbers are allowed - the DVLA sells assignment rights to attractive numbers and many people are prepared to pay high sums for novelty numbers.
But the problem is when people change the letter spacing and make the plate hard to read. Cars with these plates fail MOT tests and there is a maximum £1,000 fine.
A simple change in letter spacing can make 13 look like B or 8. The letter O can look like D, 12 can look like 15 and the letter S can get confused with the number 5.
Police are concerned that vehicles involved in hit and run accidents can be difficult to trace.
The DVLA plans to work with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to crackdown on drivers. From 1 March people without correctly displayed plates may have their registration marks withdrawn permanently without compensation.
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