Drivers are being warned that they can face a fine of £1,000 if their car’s number plate is obscured by dirt or grime.
Keeping your car clean can often be impossible with sudden changes in weather and while there is no law saying drivers should wash their vehicles, there is one that requires the number plate to be dirt free.
In the colder winter months cars are much more likely to get dirty because of the road surface.
This is due to the constant wet conditions plus grit and salt on the road from the temperate weather conditions.
Driving causes all of this dirt to be thrown into the air by the rear tyres which will splatter the back of the car – much like on a bicycle when driving through a puddle.
When this sits and sticks to the number plate it could make it illegible which is when a driver can be fined.
The Government clarifies the legal position as follows: “Number plates (also known as licence plates) should show your vehicle registration number correctly.
“You can’t rearrange letters or numbers, or alter them so that they’re hard to read.”
In addition to the £1,000 fine it is enough of an offence for a car to fail its MOT.
Previously the DVLA explained the rules “There is a specific offence under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 of obscuring or allowing a registration mark to be not easily distinguishable.
“All registration numbers must be displayed clearly and correctly on the number plate – this helps the police, enforcement agencies and members of the public to correctly identify a vehicle to assist road safety and traffic enforcement”.
Legal requirements of a number plate:
-be made from a reflective material
-display black characters on a white background (front plate)
-display black characters on a yellow background (rear plate)
-not have a background pattern
Number plate rules:
If you ride a motorbike or motor tricycle
Motorcycles and motor tricycles registered on or after 1 September 2001 must only display a number plate at the rear of the vehicle.
If you ride a motorbike or motor tricycle registered before 1 September 2001 you can also display a number plate at the front, but you don’t have to.
Motorcycle and motor tricycle number plate numbers should be on 2 lines.
Towing a trailer
Your trailer must display the same number plate as the car you’re towing it with.
If you’re towing more than one trailer, the number plate must be fixed to the trailer at the back.