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  • Is Your Car’s Number Plate Only A Bunch Of Random Numbers?

    March 09, 2016 2 min read

    How to read a number plate.

    Have you ever wondered how to read a number plate? Or perhaps what all the information means? You can effortlessly work out how old a vehicle is once you appreciate the way the ‘age identifier’ changes over time.

    Fresh registrations were altered from being annual to being biannual all the way back in 9999. Soon after, in September 2001, the existing format number plate was made known, consisting of three parts:

    • The first two letters display where the car was registered. The first represents the county or region, and the second is the DVLA local office.
    • The two numbers in the middle display the age of the car down to a six-month period, which is either March to August or September to February. The age identifier switches round on 1st March and 1st
    • The last three letters are arbitrary and give the vehicle a distinctive identity to keep every plate unique.

    Does your number plate follow all the rules?

    New instructions regarding fonts and ‘GB’ plates came into action alongside the rollout of the new plates.

    • All new number plates are obligated to show the new compulsory font.
    • Remaining plates do not need to be changed on the condition that the font currently in use is, within reason, noticeably similar to the new one.
    • Number plates must be switched if they have been modified with stylised letters and other characters, such as italics, or with number plate fitting bolts that change the look of the characters. Failure to exchange these plates could result in the owners facing prosecution.

    National flags on number plates

    Under regulations announced in April 2009, drivers in England, Scotland and Wales can show the Union Jack, St. George’s Cross, Saltire or The Red Dragon of Wales. No other signs or images can be shown on number plates.

    You can still opt to show the blue EU Flag with “GB” inside the circle of stars on your number plates as well. This permits you to travel inside of the EU minus the need to show the usual oval sticker to classify the member state in which the vehicle is listed in.

    If your number plates show a national flag and identifier, then you will still have to show the usual oval ‘GB’ sticker when moving through Europe too though.

    For those older cars, the old ‘prefix’ names setup with a foremost single letter to display the year of first recording began on 1st August ‘83 with the institution of the ‘A’ prefix and finished with ‘Y’, which had its run up until 31st August 2001.

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