British number plates are there any rules?

gfplux

Active Member
Just back from a week driving in England. I have lived outside the country a long time.
Used the Dartford crossing/tunnel with a Dart account so number plate recognition.
However
I was struck by the blatant liberties being taken by so many owners with their rear number plates (did not really look at front plates) moving letters numbers, no spaces, extra spaces, doctored letters/numbers.
Is it now anything goes a little like the Wild West. I thought there were rules about this. I also saw a few plates that looked like they had been sprayed, doctored so cameras would not read them.
Don’t the police do anything about this. It seems so obvious.
Does anyone care.
Whatever happened to the broken window theory.
Sorry just seemed so strange
 

Foster

Distinguished Member
There is, its not often I see dodgy number plates.
 

961

Well-known Member
Police too busy shepherding climate protestors ensuring they are comfy in their tents
 

494930

Well-known Member
There still are strict rules for how your number plates should be displayed, just that no one seems to enforce them anymore.
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
There still are strict rules for how your number plates should be displayed, just that no one seems to enforce them anymore.
It's like a lot of minor crimes/infractions, we just don't have enough police to sort out the proper crimes let alone these sort of things.
 

nvingo

Well-known Member
They're checked for conformity as part of the MOT.
Then the owners drive away with their pass, and refit the doctored plates!
 

bubs999

Well-known Member
There are rules, if stopped and ticketed for it, its £100 fine. If its a private plate, then photo evidence is sent to the DVLA and they will contact the owner. They will want proof that a legal plate is displayed. If they are caught again, the DVLA can remove the plate from the vehicle and the owner is issued with the original plate for the vehicle and the loose the private one.

However, with resources being thin on the ground, it's not one that is dealt with as often. However...... Cameras are now being used in some areas to target illegal plates 👍
 

Leo31291

Well-known Member
Technically I'm running show plates on my car. The characters are the right size, correctly spaced, on a reflective material, and the regulation writing on the bottom right. But they don't have the text at the bottom stating the maker and address of where the plate was made. Pending on the tester, this should fail an MOT. So I'll have to switch mine out when it comes to it.
 

gfplux

Active Member
Thanks for the replies.
Low level crime just not policed is my answer.
Very sad, where did all the money go to provide the resources for this?
 

ChuckMountain

Well-known Member
Used the Dartford crossing/tunnel with a Dart account so number plate recognition.
The number plates will still be read automatically by the cameras so long as they can be seen. A lot of the time and what annoys me is that the garage cannot seem to fit them level anyway :(

There are rules, if stopped and ticketed for it, its £100 fine
Might be a £1,000 fine ... :)

But they don't have the text at the bottom stating the maker and address of where the plate was made
Has this changed? The maker etc is part of the British Standard and the gov.uk page referencing it has been withdrawn


and the new one mentions it but does not say it is compulsory

 

AMc

Distinguished Member
As long as the plate is unique, readable and assigned to the car I really don't see why anyone would be giving a hoot, let alone waste police time ?
As others have said it should be checked at the MOT - if someone can be bothered to switch plates twice each year for the dubious pleasure of seeing their initials or name on their plate then that's their look out YMMV.

The roads are full of idiots driving too fast in the wrong places, fiddling with their phones etc. if we still had any traffic police left then I'd prefer them to be dealing with that which might actually cost someone their life.

Yesterday I was waiting at a massive roadside puddle when the van coming the other way nearly hit me - plain as day his phone at the top of the wheel held in both hands, clearly sending a text. he didn't even realise how close he'd wobbled to my door. He'll never get caught unless he kills someone.
 

ChuckMountain

Well-known Member
As long as the plate is unique, readable and assigned to the car I really don't see why anyone would be giving a hoot, let alone waste police time ?
I sort of agree but at what point does a plate move out of the above and into the challenging area. There are still people putting the screws in the "right" place which alters the number plate. That's why we have standards.

Maybe its more appropriate to have a semi-automated fining system in that if a number plate cannot be recognised automatically by the likes of ANPR then it should be sent for manual processing and a fine through the post.
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
I was pulled over once, up north near Shipley. I didn't space mine incorrectly nor did I try and make it look different. It was an original 1970 plate with a black background. It looked fantastic on my grey metallic Alpina B7 (BMW 7 series but a bit extra :D) I had. Finished the car looks-wise.

But I made an honest mistake, I thought that by having an original 1970's plate it was ok to have it black. The detail of the rules meant that not only the plate needs to be from that period but also the car.

Anyway, the police pulled me over late on a Sunday evening. And we had a chat about it, and he even commended me on not misspelling and that everything was official but the car a few decades news. Whilst in the vehicle he pointed out some much worse examples that drove by, yeah lol not funny when I was pulled over.

A large part of it was also that it was late on a Sunday evening, the car that I drove was standout, the plates gave it cause to check it, and then I was very far away from the registered address.

We had a nice chat though as he loved the car, I didn't mind the fine. I took personal responsibility. What I did object to was being hit with a £35 victim surcharge. Come on, what victim was there?

The really funny thing was the following morning. As I was working for a government agency myself at the time, and on the clock as it were, I had to report the incident. Yup I drove it into my usual official government car parking space :D:facepalm:
 

nvingo

Well-known Member
...It was an original 1970 plate with a black background. It looked fantastic on my grey metallic Alpina B7 (BMW 7 series but a bit extra :D) I had. Finished the car looks-wise.

But I made an honest mistake, I thought that by having an original 1970's plate it was ok to have it black. The detail of the rules meant that not only the plate needs to be from that period but also the car....
I spot several of those, and always assumed it was done wilfully, and not in ignorance of the rules.
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
I spot several of those, and always assumed it was done wilfully, and not in ignorance of the rules.
Most that are spot aren’t old plates. They are newer plates and that is blatantly not following the rules in my opinion.
 

aVdub

Distinguished Member
The only time you see a pull today for incorrect number plates is when there is a TV show being made.
 

MarkyPancake

Distinguished Member
So long as the characters haven't been altered by the screw caps, I've never understood why it matters how they're spaced, so long as they're in the correct order. Most online forms don't care about the spacing and you enter the reg in one continuous line anyway.

A1 ABC and A1A BC are ultimately still A1ABC when you enter them in sequence into a reg check.
 
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nvingo

Well-known Member
Most that are spot aren’t old plates. They are newer plates and that is blatantly not following the rules in my opinion.
To clarify, do you mean older (pre-1974) VRMs on modern reflective silver-on black plates, or recent post-1974 VRMs ?
I assume in your case, you acquired the pressed tin plates from the original vehicle along with the right to use the VRM on your owned vehicle?
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
To clarify, do you mean older (pre-1974) VRMs on modern reflective silver-on black plates, or recent post-1974 VRMs ?
I assume in your case, you acquired the pressed tin plates from the original vehicle along with the right to use the VRM on your owned vehicle?
That doesn’t matter either way. But yes they were pressed plates. Actually my current plates are also pressed and fully in compliance with current regulations.
 

bubs999

Well-known Member
So long as the characters haven't been altered by the screw caps, I've never understood why it matters how they're spaced, so long as they're in the correct order. Most online forms don't care about the spacing and you enter the reg in one continuous line anyway.

A1 ABC and A1A BC are ultimately still A1ABC when you enter them in sequence into a reg check.
It's to stop people misrepresenting what the plate says. It can been confusing to someone who is trying to identify what the number plate is, if it is spaced to read something different.
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
See too much of it nowadays. Level of policing I suppose, I see on twitter some reports from forces when they have one of those "pull anything for checks days" but no more.

Plates should be clearly identifiable. If I have an accident, no matter the fault, I want to be able to identify the other driver easily not try to work out what some one thinks is their name or something especially if they do a runner (I suppose both cars immobilised, well, its there for the feds). I really don't care that someone is trying to spell their name cleverly though there are some good ones out there (kudos for imagination to some extent).

My eye and brain are expecting a format. Mess with that and its off. It is my one bug bear and for those that have the front plates that accidentally drop off, get a life and get some fixing screws.

Victim surcharge is a joke though.
 

nvingo

Well-known Member
...Plates should be clearly identifiable.
...
My eye and brain are expecting a format...
To be fair, if it is made into a readable word or name, you're more likely to remember it than seven 'random' digits.
It's up to the investigator to convert that word back into the format, and cross-check that with your description of the vehicle.
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
To be fair, if it is made into a readable word or name, you're more likely to remember it than seven 'random' digits.
It's up to the investigator to convert that word back into the format, and cross-check that with your description of the vehicle.
Yeah, pondered this. My concern is some lawyer can wheedle out of it. Proper plates put back on post bump (as they probably know it was hooky), you say to investigation it was "soandso" but proper plates say Zo und so. Lawyer says "see?" "Not sure what he saw."
 

Naaktgeboren

Distinguished Member
I saw a moving plate today, first time I've ever seen one. Was on the motorway and he overtook me, I noticed I couldn't read his plate despite being 10 meters away. When we got to the junction and he stopped, the plate fell back into place, well dodgy!
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Not sure I understand? Do you mean it was loose or it was designed to move?
 

nvingo

Well-known Member
I saw a moving plate today, first time I've ever seen one. Was on the motorway and he overtook me, I noticed I couldn't read his plate despite being 10 meters away. When we got to the junction and he stopped, the plate fell back into place, well dodgy!
Not sure I understand? Do you mean it was loose or it was designed to move?
Sounds like it was rigged to not be readable by motorway speed cameras (only visible when travelling within the speed limit).
 

IronGiant

Moderator
I'm just asking for a friend :devil:
 

Naaktgeboren

Distinguished Member
Sounds like it was rigged to not be readable by motorway speed cameras (only visible when travelling within the speed limit).
Yes exactly that, when the vehicle was at certain speeds the plate was moving (designed to do so) at the junction it returned to normal.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Thanks. The lengths some people will go to.
 

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