Is It Legal to Display a Number Plate Behind the Windscreen?
Cars can sometimes be seen driving on the UK’s roads with the front number plate tucked on the dashboard behind the windscreen. It may have fallen off or, in some cases, the driver thinks their car is too cool to have the blemish of a number plate on the front. But is it legal to display the plate this way?
How Should You Display Your Number Plates?
To put it simply, your number plate should be fixed onto the vehicle, not inside it. The plates should be clearly visible to police officers and ANPR cameras, even in bright sunlight. With your plate behind the windscreen, it can be obscured by reflections off the glass rendering it unreadable. Driving with incorrectly displayed number plates can land you with a fine of up to £1000.
According to the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001:
“A registration plate must be fixed on the front of the vehicle in the manner required by paragraph (3).
“This paragraph requires the plate to be fixed vertically or, where that is not reasonably practicable, in a position as close to the vertical as is reasonably practicable. In such a position that in normal daylight the characters of the registration mark are easily distinguishable from every part of a relevant area having the diagonal length specified.
“A registration plate must not be treated in any other way which renders the characters of the registration mark less easily distinguishable to the eye or which would prevent or impair
the making of a true photographic image of the plate through the medium of camera and film or any other device.”
What if Your Plate Falls Off While You’re Driving?
In one case, a driver had fixed his front number plate to the bonnet of the car with gaffer tape while he was waiting for a new plate holder. The car had passed its MOT test with the plate attached like that. However, while he was driving at speed, the number plate flew off into the road.
The driver retrieved the plate and placed it behind the windscreen until he could get home and reattach it properly. Unfortunately, he was stopped by the police on his way home and reported for failing to correctly display the registration plate.
In cases like this, police officers can use their discretion and some are more lenient than others, especially if you set off with the plate fitted correctly. Most would offer a word of advice and send you on your way – but don’t count on it. If you're stopped with it inside the car, you could face a hefty fine.
Display Your Personalised Number Plates Correctly
Like any other number plates, personalised plates must conform to legal requirements and be correctly displayed. You should only have your plates made up by a registered number plate supplier. CarReg has been buying and selling private number plates for over 30 years and we are members of all governing bodies, so you can buy your perfect personalised number plates with confidence. Search over 50,000,000 personalised number plates.