In a bid to make Britain’s roads safer and to help drivers avoid steep fines, experts have urged motorists to familiarise themselves with seven number plate laws.
Road experts from LeaseCar.uk are encouraging drivers to ensure their number plates fit the correct style and are legally sound – otherwise they could face hefty £1,000 fines.
Number plates for cars registered in the UK must be made from a reflective material, not have a background pattern, and display black characters on a white background for the front plate, and black characters on a yellow background for the rear plate.
But it’s becoming increasingly more common to see registration numbers displayed with quirky fonts, sizes and even the incorrect spacing between the letters and numbers.
If caught by the police, motorists committing number plate offences could be dealt a hefty fine of £1,000. It could also result in vehicles failing MOT tests.
In extreme cases the registration plate could be permanently withdrawn.
A spokesperson from LeaseCar.uk said: “A number plate is essentially a car’s passport – and you wouldn’t change the format of your own passport, so why mess with your car’s?
“They carry lots of important information to do with tax and licencing, and so not following the rules can result in some very large fines.”
This is LeaseCar.uk’s number plate know-how:
Depending on where your number plates are placed, the background colours should be different. Those at the front of a vehicle should have a white background, and rear number plates should have a yellow background.
There is a standard font which must be used for number plates. Characters cannot be in italics – as was previously allowed before 2001 – but you can personalise the font only by making the characters 3D.
Number plates must be displayed at all times on the vehicle – both front and back – and the letters and numbers must be visible at all times, so make sure they’re kept clean! Theft resistant plates are available to make it more difficult for them to be removed.
In order to ensure number plates are easy to read, there are lots of specific measurements with regards to the individual characters. They must be 79mm tall and the thickness of the black print 14mm. More details can be found on the Gov.uk website.
You are allowed to display a flag on the left-hand side of the number plate, but only if it relates to the place the car’s from. They must be smaller than 5mm wide. A GB sticker must be displayed if you plan to drive the car in Europe – a flag on the number plate will suffice.
Each car is issued with a regular formation of two letters, which identifies where the car was originally registered, two numbers which show the age of the car, followed by three random letters. It is illegal to put plates on a car which makes it look younger than it is.
7. Personalised plates
Personalised number plates can also be purchased. These adhere to all of the above rules, apart from they can follow different formations. These plates don’t show the age of the car – this is one of the reasons individuals may choose to buy them.