If you are thinking about getting a personalised number plate, you might be wondering about the legality of displaying it on your car. This can be a tricky topic, so here is quick breakdown of your responsibilities so that you don’t get caught out.
So long as you purchase your personalised number plate from a legitimate source, or use a smart search to find cool number plate ideas, you can pick and choose from a whole heap of intriguing, entertaining combinations of letters and numbers. This is completely legal and the DVLA makes millions each year from this trade.
Of course even with a legitimate personalised plate, you need to be sure to adhere to the rules on formatting if you are to avoid a hefty fine. Even if separating the letters and numbers in a particular way would let you emphasise the personal aspect of the plate, you are not allowed to do so, and can expect to get pulled over by the police if you ignore this advice.
Assigning a plate to your vehicle
Buying a personalised plate from a private seller, a dealer or the DVLA itself is straightforward thanks to the various online tools that are available. However, you cannot immediately start using the plate as soon as the transaction is completed; you need to make sure that you assign it to the vehicle in question, as well as remembering to remove it from any previous vehicle to which it has been assigned.
To legally assign a personalised plate to a vehicle you already own, there are a number of criteria that it needs to meet. This includes being registered with the DVLA, being available for inspection and being eligible for MOT testing.
The good news is that you can apply to assign a personalised plate to your car online and there is no charge for this service. Remember to keep your vehicle’s log book handy to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Avoid unacceptable tags
Another tempting alteration you might like to make to your personalised number plate is to add an image alongside the string of characters itself. Some people have flags on their number plates, so it might seem like other pictures would be appropriate in place of this element.
Perhaps unsurprisingly this is another thing which the DVLA does not allow. There are just five different flags which can be legitimately chosen for number plates registered in the UK, which are of course the Union Flag and the European Union flag, in addition to the flags of England, Scotland and Wales respectively.
Regional flags from different parts of the UK are not eligible, nor are any other images, regardless of their nature.
Personalised number plates are a fun way of expressing yourself on your car, but ultimately they are designed to make the vehicle identifiable to the authorities. This explains why there are such strict rules in place, even if they are legal to use in principle.