Replacement number plate retailer, Halfords, has revealed there were 9,031 illegal number plate offences in 2017 where owners drove or kept a vehicle with obscured plates or irregular license plates.
Number plate crime rose by 18% in 2017 from 7,876 illegal plates in 2016 according to data from 49 UK police constabularies.
Warwickshire, Dorset, Gwent and Northumbria saw the most significant rises in license plate crime with offenders risking a failed MOT and £1000 fine.
Halfords conducted a supporting survey of over 2,000 UK drivers to see if the rise of number plate crime is down to the lack of knowledge.
Findings revealed that 1 in 20 motorists have previously bought an illegal number plate from an unregistered supplier and that young drivers are six times more likely to buy an illegal number plate than those over 45.
Two in five drivers admitting they would drive a car with a cracked number plate, and a whopping 98% of drivers couldn’t tell the difference between a legal and illegal number plate when tested.
Katie Sexton, number plate expert at Halfords, explained more about the research “The study proves that there is a lack of understanding of the legalities surrounding number plates.
“With number plate crime on the rise, it is important that motorists get their replacement number plates from a reputable registered supplier, such as Halfords, and are asked to provide proof of identification and entitlement to show that they have the right to use the registration.”
If you’re worried that your number plate may be illegal, the DVLA’s regulations state that number plates must be made from a reflective material and feature only black letters and numbers using the mandatory DVLA font, formatted over one or two lines, feature a British Standard Number, manufacturer or supplier, and the name and postcode of the supplying outlet.
Plates should either contain no flag or one of the approved options – the Cross of St George, the Union Jack, the Cross of St Andrew, the Red Dragon of Wales, or the flag of Europe.
Number plates become illegal if there has been an attempt to rearrange or misrepresent the numbers or letters, such as or using large bolts to secure the plate to the car to make a numbers or letters appear different.
Finally, ensure your plates are free of anything that may obstruct the lettering’s visibility, including mud covering up a character or cracks, all of which are an offence according to the DVLA.
Here are the five key areas in which drivers can make an error with their personalised plate which could lead them to land fines and fail their MOT.
1.The wrong colour
Using the wrong colour could be a violation. Number plates should be white with a black font on the front of a car and yellow with black writing on the rear.
2. Incorrect spacing
Having the correct spacing is also crucial. If the characters are in the wrong place on the plate the driver can be penalised.
For example, if the age identifier (the two numbers after the first two characters) are attached to the three random letters in the second half of the plate.
3. An illegal background
Much like having the wrong font can get you in trouble, using an inappropriate background could also see you penalised.
If there is a non-stand background used or there are stickers interfering with the eligibility, drivers can be punished.
4.The wrong font
Only the standard “Charles Wright” font must be used and this goes for all number plates.
5. An invalid flag
There are only a set number of flags permitted on the number plates in the UK.
- The EU flag
- The Union Jack
- The St George Cross
- The Scottish Saltire (St Andrew Cross)
- The Red Dragon of Wales
Published at Sun, 13 Jan 2019 09:01:00 +0000