Is your number plate of a legal standard?

Registration plates are something that is unique to each vehicle and it is a legal requirement that they are displayed on the vehicle. In 1904 it became a legal requirement that all vehicles where to be entered on to the governments vehicle register and had to carry plates. The reason behind this legal implementation was that a vehicle could be tracked in the event of an accident.

The Number plates of the UK are individual in the characters and numbers situated on the plate but are usually square or rectangle in shape. The UK registration system in Great Britain is over seen by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency yet Northern Ireland is monitored by the DVA (Driver and Vehicle Agency).

It is not just the plate that is standardized but the actual font used on the plate has to conform to the legal requirements. The font being used is known as ‘Charles Wright 2001’ and has been condensed, mainly to allow for the optional blue ‘GB’ Euro surround. The number plate characters are a suitable font to use at there is a clear distinction between characters such as ‘8’ and ‘B’ or ‘D’ and ‘0’. This helps with the number plates identification software that the police use. Any other font being used such as italics is deemed illegible and therefore illegal.

The desire for a personalized number plate has motivated people enough to modify their existing number plate that is in direct conflict to the law. Strategically positioned screws, the use of electrical tape and re positioning of the characters have drawn the wrong type of attention to them and their vehicles. This is also frowned upon by the police and could result in a fine. The only real way of obtaining a personal registration plate would be going through the correct channels.

The current number plate system used in Great Britain was introduced in 2001 and consists of 7 characters. The optional graphic on the far left of the plate is used to identify what European country that the car is registered. The following two letters are the area code. The first letter indicates the region and the second relates to the local registration office. The following two characters are numbers are used as an age identifier. This changes twice a year and happens in March and September. The digits are of the year itself if issued in March (08 for March 2008) or else has 50 added for a September plate (58 for September 2008). The last part of the plate is a three letter sequence that holds no particular reference. The letter I and Q are excluded form this sequence as well as any combinations that might deem offensive even in foreign languages.

Personalized number plates is something that makes a car more individual and it is well worth locating one through the legal and approved channels as to avoid any legal implications.

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