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What is a legal number plate?


What makes a number plate illegal? What are the DVLA rules for legal number plates?

  

First, some general stuff about number plates.....

 

Your number plates should be made up by a manufacturer who is registered on the DVLA's Register of Number Plate Suppliers (RNPS). They will ask you for your documents (V5 logbook, and personal ID), as proof that you are entitled to use the registration.

 

If you have just had a private registration number assigned to your vehicle, you won't receive your new registration document straightaway. In which case, you will be given a document authorising you to have the number plates made up.

 

The DVLA rules for number plates are very specific. Number plates must fit with the British Standard, including the typeface, the size, and colouring. There are alternatives for motorcycles, tricycles and traditional (black and white) plates.

 

Reputable number plate manufacturers will be aware of these regulations.

VEHICLE REGISTRATION MARKS must be displayed in accordance with The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 (obtainable from HMSO). See http://www.opsi.gov.uk/

 

 The basic rules for number plates:

You must display a number plate on the front and rear of your vehicle

Letters should be black on a white plate at the front

Letters should be black on a yellow plate at the rear

The background surface should be reflex-reflecting, but not the letters

Number plates should meet the British Standard

Rules on character dimensions differ slightly depending on whether your plates were fitted before or after 1st September 2001. Details are below.

Rules on character dimensions differ for traditional 'black and white' plates, which may be fitted on vehicles manufactured before 1st January 1973.

 Number plates fitted after 1st September 2001

Any number plate made up after 1st September 2001 must meet the dimensions as below:

Character Height 79 mm

Character Width (except the figure 1 or letter I) 50 mm

Character stroke 14 mm

Space between characters 11 mm

Space between groups 33 mm

Top, bottom, and side margins (minimum) 11 mm

Space between vertical lines 19 mm

 

  Number plates fitted before 1st September 2001

If you fitted a number plate before 1st September 2001, they must meet the dimensions in one of the two groups below:

Group 1 Group 2

Character height 89 mm 79 mm

Character width (except the figure 1 or letter I) 64 mm 57 mm

Character stroke 16 mm 14 mm

Space between characters 13 mm 11 mm

Space between groups 38 mm 33 mm

Top, bottom and side margins (minimum) 13 mm 11 mm

Space between vertical lines 19 mm 9 mm

 

 

 Traditional number plates for vehicles manufactured before 1st January 1973

Vehicles manufactured before 1st January 1973 are allowed to display traditional style 'black and white' plates i.e. white, silver, or grey characters on a black plate.

The characters size must meet the dimensions in one of the two groups below:

Group 1 Group 2

Character height 89 mm 79 mm

Character width (except the figure 1 or letter I) 64 mm 57 mm

Character stroke 16 mm 14 mm

Space between characters 13 mm 11 mm

Space between groups 38 mm 33 mm

Top and bottom margins 13 mm 11 mm

Side margin  25 mm 11 mm

 

 DVLA Rules for Motorcycle and Tricycle number plates

All motorcycles and tricycles must display a number plate at the rear of the vehicle. Motorcycles and tricycles registered before 1st September 2001 may display a number plate at the front of the vehicle but are not required to.

If you have a two or three wheeled motorcycle or tricycle that has a body type of a four-wheeled vehicle, you MUST display a number plate at the front and back of the vehicle.

Motorcycles registered on or after 1st September 2001 must display a two-line number plate. Motorcycles registered before 1st September 2001 may display a three-line number plate.
One-line number plates are illegal, regardless of the date of registration.

Here are the character sizes:

Character Height 64 mm

Character Width (except the figure 1 or letter I)  44 mm

Character stroke 10 mm

Space between characters 10 mm

Space between groups 30 mm

Top, bottom, and side margins (minimum) 11 mm

Space between vertical lines 13 mm

 

 Euro (and other flags) on number plates

 Since 1st September 2001 you have been able to choose to display a Euro flag, for vehicles registered in the UK. The Euro-plate is a number plate that has 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 it (for example GB). This symbol is located on the far left-hand side of the number plate.

Vehicles displaying this Euro symbol on the number plate 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.

On 28 December 2001, the Government announced 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.

 

 

Number plate font

 

All number plates made after 31st August 2001 must display the mandatory font. Number plates made prior to this date must be substantially the same.

Examples of the font can be found here:

 






 

Stylised letters (or fixing bolts which alter the appearance of the letters) are not allowed.

 

What you must not do with your number plate...

 

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).

That means:

No stylised letters

Don't move the space around

Don't misrepresent letters / numbers using screws or fixings

Don't misrepresent letters / numbers using squashed or distorted letters

No images other than the approved flags (no football emblems, etc)

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

 

 What's the British Standard for number plates?

The British Standard sets out the physical characteristics of the number plate. This includes visibility, strength and reflectivity.

The British Standard also requires each number plate to be permanently and legibly marked with the following information:

The British Standard number (currently BS AU 145d)

The name, trademark or other means of identification of the manufacturer or component supplier (The company that made the plate)

Name and postcode of the supplying outlet.

Other options:

A non-reflective border

Euro-symbol with national identification letters

 You can download the fonts which can be used in MS Word at the following web site address, or drop Mike Bone a note and he will provide it for you.


http://www.dafont.com/uk-number-plate.font?text=LFO+458&psize=l