Motorists risk £1,000 fine for number plate issues ahead of major rule changes rolling out this week

Motorists risk £1,000 fine for number plate issues ahead of major rule changes rolling out this week

WATCH: Richard Holden hosts last number plate auction

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 26/02/2024

- 12:53

Drivers could fail their MOT test if they drive with incorrectly displayed number plates

Experts are urging drivers to take steps to ensure they avoid being hit with a hefty £1,000 fine before new number plate changes coming later next month.

Forecourts around the country will see new “24” number plates adorn the front and rear of new vehicles from March 1.

This follows the two-decade-old tradition of introducing new number plate numbers twice a year to show off the latest car models.

On Friday, March 1, the new “24” registration plate will be rolled out, while the “74” number plate will be issued from September 1, later this year.

Number plate

New number plates will be rolled out on March 1


Despite the excitement from drivers and retailers about the new number plate changes, experts are warning that motorists could be hit with fines.

There are a number of rules that need to be followed for a number plate to be road legal, and with a growing number of people looking into personalised plates, fines could become more common.

All plates must be made from a reflective material and they are not allowed to have background patterns to ensure they can be seen by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

As standard, all licence plates must have black characters on a white background for the front of the car and black characters on a yellow background for the rear.

Characters on a number plate must be the right size, height and be correctly spaced, as specified by the Government. These rules tend to apply more to unofficial garages and people buying personalised number plates.

The lettering on the plates must be in the Charles Wright font. They can have raised 3D characters and display certain symbols and flags, as well as a green flash if it is an electric car.

Darryl Bowman from Cuvva said “When it comes to number plate changes, there's always a rush for people to get their hands on the latest plate.

“But there are opportunities to score deals on slightly older cars with the older plates. If you're contemplating selling your car, doing so before the new plates are released could net you a higher price.

“While if you're in the market to buy a new car, waiting for the new plates may result in a better price, as the current ones become one plate older."

Motorists should also make sure that their number plates are clean and legible as this could result in a punishment if an ANPR camera cannot read it.

Drivers can be fined up to £1,000 and their vehicle will fail its MOT test if they drive with incorrectly displayed number plates.

This was seen in October when a driver was slapped with a fixed penalty notice for taping a leaf to the front and rear plate of his vehicle.


ANPR camera on a police car

ANPR cameras need to be able to recognise number plates


Surrey Police’s RoadSafe campaign posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “There are times when camouflage is needed and can look good.

“Leaves attached to your number plate with double-sided tape is neither.”

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