Travel 10 Fun Facts About Vehicle Number Plates In Britain

10 Fun Facts About Vehicle Number Plates In Britain

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Let’s look at some fun facts about vehicle number plates in Britain. Their system of number plates is one of the most complex numbers of plate systems in practice now. Let figure out how vehicles under this new system get number plates and do they hold any special meaning. Or they just randomly get the numbers.

The current system, known as Roads Vehicle Regulations, was first introduced in September 2001 and replaced a 20-year-old system. This system is in practice in England, Wales, and Scotland.

Under the current system, vehicles are registered with a mixed alphanumeric number, which has a specific format consisting of seven characters, two initial letters followed by two numbers followed with space and three ending letters (i.e., XX11 XXX). 

1- Two Beginning Characters 

In the beginning, two characters are area code or local memory tags, indicating the area. These letters were assigned based on the DVLA office in which the vehicle was registered. Now DVLA offices are closed, and an online system is used to register a vehicle. 

Still, the basis for assigning the characters to an area remains the same, so if you buy a car from a London dealer, you get a number to the plate letter will start from L.

For a vehicle registered in Birmingham, the number will start from B, for Hampshire H, and so on. Letters I, Q, and Z cannot be put in area codes.

2- Age Identifier

After two initial characters, two numbers are telling you about the age of the car or the year of its registration. Each year has two numbers assigned to it, one for the period between March to August and the other for September to February.

The number assigned to a vehicle registered between March 2002 to August 2002 is 02 and 03 for March 2003 to August 2003, so an ongoing maximum of up to 50 till March 2050 to August 2050.

Whereas 51 is for vehicles registered between September 2001 to February 2002 and 52 for the vehicles registered between September 2002 to February 2003 and so on, maximum going up to 00 between September 2050 to February 2051. 

3- Only Vehicle with No Number Plate:

In Britain, all vehicles have a number plate except for ones the Queen uses. This exception only applies to the Queen. Other members of the Royal family use number plate valuation services for their cars.

4- Ending Three Letter 

Ending three letters of the number plate are random characters and do not hold any specific meaning. Unlike the initial five letters, a dealership assigns a batch of letters once they use them; a new batch comes. 

Just like in area code letters I and Q, you cannot use them as random letters considering that these might be mistakenly taken as numbers 1 and 0. However, letter Z can be used as a random letter. Any offensive letter sequence, DVLA does not allow for a number plate.

5- Country Identifier

Having a country identifier is not a must for a vehicle. Still, while travelling outside Britain, a vehicle must always display a separate GB sticker if a country identifier is not present on a number plate.

In EU countries, Britain vehicles with EU sign as a country identifier would no longer be allowed after Brexit, and hence such vehicles have to change their number plates to a new one with GB Flag.

6- Colors of Number Plates

Britain’s vehicle number plate made of yellow and white reflective material plates with black text has standard font sizes. White number plates are at the front while the yellow plates are at the back of a vehicle.

Only cars registered before January 1973 can have traditional number plates with black plates with white, silver, or grey text. 

Vehicles registered before January 1979 can also display black and white plates. DVLA allows such plates. Cars that are over 40 years old can also have these classic black and white number plates.

7- Buy Personalized Number Plates Online

One can easily buy a number plate from DVLA online or through auction. All you need to do is search online which numbers are available and how much they cost. You can get an old number for a new vehicle, but a vehicle cannot have a number, which will make it look newer than it is.

The cost of these personalized number plates varies on its demand and number of characters on a plate. There are more than 45 million private number plates, some people use them while others keep them as an investment.

8- Shape of a Number Plate

A number plate in Britain is generally rectangular for cars. But the shape can vary to suit the car’s aperture and bikes have a square-shaped plate with digits on two different lines.

9- Standard Font

Since 2001 all number plates must use Charles Wright Knew. Before this rule, people used many different fonts to focus on the visibility of numbers and character.

10- Most Expensive Number Plate:

In 2014, a Bradford businessman bought the most expensive number plate in Britain, costing £518,000 for his Ferrari. 

Illegal Number Plates:

Despite getting a registered DVLA number plate is still illegal provided:

  1. Avoid using a font that is hard to read.
  2. Alteration on number plates causing difficulty in reading or identifying the characters on the plate.
  3. Using any symbols (i.e., sporting or religious emblems)
  4. Using any other flags than those allowed (i.e., Union Flag, Cross of St. George, Saltire, or Red Dragon Of wales)

Where Can You Get A Number Plate?

You can get a vehicle number plate for your expensive cars from any nearest Registered Number Plate Supplier. The supplier will check relevant documents to verify whether you are can use the number or not.

Penalty For Not Displaying Number Plate Legally

Not legally displaying a number plate could lead to a fixed fine up to a maximum of £1,000 and MOT test failure.

Final Words:

The above facts include exciting rules on the vehicle number plate system and some interesting information we collected regarding those rules. We hope that you will understand a lot more by looking at the car’s number now.

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