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POLICE EQUIPMENT

 

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: -

  • A number plate must be displayed at the front and rear of motor vehicles (with some exceptions).
  • Number Plates must be easy to read and meet the British Standard.
  • Lettering should be black on a white plate at the front and a yellow at the rear.
  • The background surface should be reflex-reflecting but the characters must not.
  • There are separate requirements for traditional number plates displayed on vehicles constructed before 1 January 1973.
  • Lettering and spacing must be of a set size. They must conform to one of the groups shown at:- Number plates fitted after 1 September 2001 or Number plates fitted before 1 September 2001.

    Number Plate Law

    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    • The registration mark may be WITHDRAWN
    • The vehicle may FAIL the MOT test

    Full details of the requirements are included in The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001

     

NUMBER PLATES FITTED AFTER 1 SEPTEMBER 2001

Number plates fitted after 1 September 2001 must display characters that meet the dimensions shown below.

Characters  
Height  79mm
Width (except the figure 1 or letter l) 50mm
Stroke 14mm
Space between characters 11mm
Space between groups 33mm
Top, bottom and side margins (minimum) 11mm
Space between vertical lines 19mm

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

Number plates fitted before 1 September 2001 must display characters that meet the dimensions shown in one of the two groups below

Characters Group 1 Group 2
Height  89mm 79mm
Width (except the figure 1or letter l) 64mm 57mm
Stroke 16mm 14mm
Space between characters 13mm 11mm
Space between groups 38mm 33mm
Side margins (minimum) 13mm 11mm
Space between vertical lines 19mm 19mm
 

TRADITIONAL NUMBER PLATES

  • Vehicles constructed before 1.1.73 may display traditional style "black and white" plates i.e. white, silver or grey characters on a black plate.
  • Lettering must be of a set size. It must conform to one of the two groups below.
     
Characters Group 1 Group 2
Height  89mm 79mm
Width (except the number 1) 64mm 57mm
Stroke 16mm 14mm
Side margin 25mm 11mm
Top & bottom margin 13mm 11mm
Space between characters 13mm 11mm
Space between groups 38mm 33mm
  • There are additional arrangements if the vehicle is a motorcycle or tricycle

  • Traditional number plates fitted to vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1973 are not required to display the mandatory character font, but the characters must be easy to read.

Display of Vehicle Registration Marks on Imported Vehicles
(which have a restricted space for a standard sized number plate)

Certain imported vehicles may be permitted to display number plates with smaller characters if:

  • The vehicle does not have European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval
    and
  • The vehicle's construction/design cannot accommodate standard size number plates
Specifications for smaller sized plates (for certain imported vehicles)
 
Character Height   64mm
Character Width   44mm
Character Stroke   10mm
Space between characters   10mm

 


MOTORCYCLES AND TRICYCLES

  • Motorcycles and tricycles registered after 1.9.2001 must only display a number plate at the rear of the vehicle.
  • Motorcycles and tricycles registered before 1.9.2001 can display a number plate at the front but are not required to.
  • The characters may be smaller e.g.
     
Character Height   64mm
Character Width   44mm
Character Stroke   10mm
Space between characters   10mm
Space between groups   30mm
Top, side & bottom margin   11mm
Space between vertical lines   13mm

 

  • Motorcycles registered on or after 1 September 2001 must display a two-line number plate number plate. Motorcycles registered prior to the 1 September 2001 may display a three-line plate, but one-line plates are illegal, irrespective of the date of registration of the motorcycle.
 

MANDATORY CHARACTER FONT

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.

Character fonts

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:

  • Stylised letters and/or figures such as italics
  • Number plate fixing bolts that alter the appearance of the letters and/or numbers

THE EURO PLATE

The dvla Euro plate

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

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:


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 registration mark may be WITHDRAWN .
  • The vehicle may FAIL the MOT test

    Full details of the requirements are included in The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001

THE BRITISH STANDARD

The British Standard sets out the physical characteristics on the number plate. This includes:

  • Visibility
  • Strength
  • Reflectivity

The British Standard also requires that a number plate must be marked with the following information: -

  • The British Standard Number (currently BS AU 145d)
  • The name, trade mark, or other means of identification of the manufacturer or component supplier. (The company who actually make the number plate.)
  • The name and postcode of the supplying outlet. (The 'supplying outlet' is taken to mean a company whose business consists wholly or partly of selling number plates.)
  • A non-reflective border and the Euro-symbol with the national identification letters are optional additions.
  • There shall be no other markings or material contained on the number plate.

A New Format from September 2001


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

  • a two letter regional identifier
  • a two figure age identifier
  • three random letters
New registration plate structure

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:

Character fonts

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.


The DVLA plans to work with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to crackdown on drivers.

  Copyright ©

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.

Police concerns

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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