According to a recent Freedom of Information request, illegal number plate crime is on the rise in the UK. Between 2016 and 2017 there was an 18% increase in the number of drivers fined for having an illegal number plate, with 7,876 and 9,031 dodgy plates being detected respectively. Worryingly, a recent poll by Halfords has also found out that 98% of UK drivers are unable to spot an illegal number plate.
So what’s an illegal number plate?
Modifications such as adding your favourite football team’s crest, and changing the font style and colour of any number plate in the UK has always been illegal. It is also illegal to change the size of the number plates themselves. However, there is a common trend between the under 25s who are breaking the law and risking a fine just to make their car stand out that little bit more. According to the poll by Halfords, a young driver under the age of 25 is 6 times more likely to have an illegal number plate on their car than a driver who is over 45 years of age.
But keeping your number plate legal isn’t just a case of not modifying it. A cracked number plate is also against the law, as is an incorrectly positioned screw. According to the poll, 77% of motorists were unaware of how much of a fine they would face if they were fined for having such a number plate on their car.
So how can you keep your plates legal?
The requirements for number plates are very strict in the UK. The general rule of thumb is to not replace your plates at all unless they are cracked or damaged in any way. If this is the case, then to keep legal you need to get your replacement number plates from a reputable registered supplier. When doing so, you will be asked to provide proof of identification and entitlement to show that you have the right to use your particular registration.