Drivers are being warned of fines they could face for being on the road ahead of major number plate changes in the coming months.
In keeping with tradition, two sets of new number plates will be introduced over the coming 12 months.
On March 1, the new “24” number plate will be rolled out on new cars ready to hit garage forecourts while “74” will follow in September.
A number of new rules have been introduced in recent years to improve the quality of number plates to make them stronger and easier to scan for Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
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New number plates will be rolled out in March
Regulations state that plates fitted after September 1, 2021, must be made from a reflective material, not have a background pattern and be marked to show who provided the plate.
Standard plates will consist of two letters denoting where the vehicle was registered, two numbers indicating when it was issued followed by three letters chosen at random.
While the new number plates are just weeks away, drivers are being warned that they could face fines if they are the plates are not clear enough.
Motorists could be fined up to £1,000 and their vehicle will fail an MOT test if they drive with incorrectly displayed number plates.
Fines could be applied if the plate is damaged, obstructed by dirt or even if a leaf is covering part of it.
In October last year, a motorist in Surrey was slapped with a fine for taping a leaf on the front and back number plate to avoid getting caught by the police.
Jake Smith, director of Absolute Reg, said: “With the new 2024 plate launch just around the corner, motorists must ensure they are up to scratch with number plate laws.
“Car owners who fail to comply with rules risk a hefty fine and other penalties including licence points.
“Number plate regulations range from the general design to visibility, which makes it an offence to conceal the plate in any way.
“Motorists may also be surprised to know that having faulty bulbs or a dirty number plate could lead to a fine.”
The expert is also urging drivers to act quickly when they need to replace the bulb that lights up the number plate as this could be seen as deliberately obscuring the plate.
Motorists are also advised to get their number plates from reputable dealers as they will always adhere to legal standards.
Drivers must ensure their number plates meet specific regulations
The characters must not be removable or reflective and if the number plates were fitted after September 1, 2021, they must be a single shade of black.