If you plan on getting a new car you may be wondering what the registration number means!
Why do we need a number plate?
Vehicle registration plates have been around since 1904 in the UK. A legislation was passed on January 1st that year which required all motor vehicles to be entered into an official register to make it easier for cars to be identified in the event of an accident, loss or where illegal activity was concerned. It became law that any vehicles permitted for public roads had to have them on display. These days registration plates are also used for taxing your vehicle and help to easily allocate the vehicle details when looking up quotes for insurance.
The format of a number plate
Usually reg plates consist of 2 letters followed by 2 numbers, a space and then 3 letters. Here’s what it means.
Displaying your number plate
It is a legal obligation for all road vehicles to have a licence plate on display which has been the case since 1904 as we stated earlier. The front and rear plates must be exactly the same and easily readable. The police can actually pull you over if they can’t read your registration properly and fine you up to £1000, even if your number plate is coated in mud!
It’s also an offence to rearrange, alter or misrepresent the numbers and letters from their original specification unless permitted to do so from the DVLA – in instances such as changing it to a personalised plate. Vehicles manufactured after 1973 must display the registration plate in this way:
- White background at the front of the vehicle
- Yellow background at the rear of the vehicle
- Black letters and numbers in the standard registration plate font
- Must be made of reflective material and not have any sort of background pattern
To find out more specifications for the font used such as size and spacing – read up here.
If you are looking to get yourself a personalised plate, you can purchase these from the DVLA directly or a private dealer, but they must still be in this format. Note that you cannot make the car appear to be any older than it truly is i.e. putting a 09 registration number onto a car which was made in 2005. Personalised plates can be quite pricey though, so make sure you shop around and consider what you want it to read wisely!
If your licence plate has been cloned or stolen
You must contact the policy immediately. Taking swift action gives them a higher chance of being able to locate the culprit and prevent and further fraudulent activity. If your plates have been cloned and you have been receiving letters for charges you are not responsible for, again notify the police and make sure you obtain a crime reference number. This will then need to be passed onto the DVLA as evidence, by writing to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1ZZ.
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