The number plate laws drivers are not aware of

In the UK, there are strict rules about how number plates should be displayed on vehicles. These laws exist to ensure that registrations are easy to read by traffic officers and can be identified by speed cameras.

However, research by Tyre Pros has found that many drivers are unaware of these number plate laws, which could land them with a £1,000 fine or result in MOT failure if they are not adhered to.

Number plates displayed on the front of vehicles must feature black characters on a white background, while at the back they must have black characters on a yellow background. However, 30% of the people surveyed didn’t know that modifying the colour of their number plate is illegal.

White was chosen as a background colour because it provides the greatest colour contrast, while yellow provides the second greatest contrast. The plates are different colours so that motorists can easily tell which way a vehicle is facing, and whether it’s likely to be moving towards or away from them.

Furthermore, just over a quarter of the people surveyed (26%) were not aware that having a patterned background on their plates could see them hit with a fine. This is prohibited because it can obscure the number and letters making registrations more difficult to read.

There are also precise rules around the font for number plates. ‘Charles Wright’ is the prescribed font, for instance, and the characters have to be 79mm tall and 50mm wide, except for the number 1 and letter I. The thickness of the black print also has to be 14mm, and there must be a space of 11mm between each character.

Although the precise details of this required font may not be common knowledge among motorists, most drivers are aware that deviating from the standard format can get them in trouble with the law. However, 28% of those we surveyed didn’t know that this could land them with a fine.

Whilst there’s no law stating that drivers have to wash their cars, drivers can find themselves on the wrong side of the law if number plates become too dirty to read. 23% of drivers were out of the loop on this driving law however.

It is important that drivers make sure they are up to speed on the rules surrounding number plates. Doing so can save road users from a potentially costly fine. It also ensures you do not fail your MOT without your knowing.

Author: Brandon Park