Four motoring laws as number plate changes launch – from spacing to lettering

The new "73" number plates launched on September 1.

These will be fitted on all newly registered vehicles which could be exciting for motor-heads.

But drivers are reminded there are four motoring laws to be wary of as the changes came into effect on Friday.

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Chris Jevons, sales and marketing manager at JTape, said it was vital motorists "brush up" on their knowledge.

He said: "With the latest '73 plates about to launch in September, it's as good a time as any to brush up on the licence plate rules and regulations.

"The last thing anybody wants is to be caught out for breaking some rules, especially if there are a few new or different ones you're not aware of."

Number plate background

Drivers need to make sure they display the number plates on the correct side of the vehicle.

The front plate must have a white background while the rear plates need to have a yellow background.

JTape states it's "one of the biggest number plate rules" drivers need to know.

Chris added: "This is by no means a new rule since it's been enforced for all vehicles made after January 1, 1973, however, it's still one to be aware of when purchasing new plates or going for customisations."

Dirty number plate

Number plates must be visible at all times for law enforcement purposes.

Drivers with a dirty plate can face an on-the-spot £100 fine which could rise to £1,000 in some circumstances.


Drivers must make sure there is correct spacing between the letters on their number plate to avoid a £1,000 fine.

Meanwhile, drivers could even fail an MOT test if their number plate spacing is deemed to be incorrect.

Chris explained: "Spacing and visibility is also a major rule and one that many motorists that DIY their licence plates are caught out over.

"The numbers and letters must be exactly 79mm in height, and a decent amount of space should be left between the numbers marking the manufacture year and the three characters at the end."

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Number plate lettering

Motorists must follow specific rules around number plate lettering at all times.

Some modified designs may not be allowed with drivers likely to be slapped with heavy charges if they are caught.

Chris continued: "Modified plates are popular among motorists, but according to new rules, only solid black lettering is allowed.

"This means that 3D plates with different coloured shadows or backing can’t be fixed to any car being driven on UK roads.

"3D OR 4D-effect licence plates with black lettering are still allowed, but any other colours could land you a hefty fine if the correct spacing isn't used."

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