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Belgian MP Has Vehicle Legally Equipped with Rotating Number Plates

An MP in Belgium has taken inspiration from James Bond and had his car equipped with rotating number plates and dual registration numbers. And surprisingly, he’s not breaking any laws.

Belgian politicians can display two different registration numbers on their cars, although not at the same time. The first is the standard number issued for the vehicle, while the other is a ‘P’ plate which gives them special perks such as avoiding police checks and access to central Brussels reserved parking.

MPs can choose to display either set of plates or swap between them. However, using the ‘P’ plates identifying them as politicians can make them the target of hostility or see them posted on social media sites for making even the slightest mistake on the country’s roads.

Inspired by the 1964 film, Goldfinger, with James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 loaded with gadgets, Flemish nationalist MP, Michael Freilich, had his Chevrolet Captiva equipped with rotating plates that enable him to go unrecognised when he chooses. He sometimes uses the ‘P’ plates when on official business but switches to the conventional plates for travelling with his family.

Freilich used to change the plates himself, but finally got fed up with having to undo screws at the front and rear of the car. He found the perfect solution in a Chinese-made revolving device selling on eBay. The number plates rotate with the push of a button on a key fob.

Before installing the device, he checked with several lawyers to make sure the system was legal. He was advised that it is as long as he always ensures the front and rear numbers are the same. He must not change them during a journey or to evade penalties. Freilich said, “I don’t intend to put it to the test. I don’t have any bad intentions.”

Ironically, the fact that Michael Freilich’s attempt to go incognito has been published in the media showing both of his registration numbers, he’s more likely to be recognised wherever he goes.

Don’t Try This at Home!

Needless to say, it’s against the law to use revolving number plates in the UK. Similarly, flip licence plate holders, also known as stealth frames, are strictly illegal. These holders drop a black shutter at the press of a button to hide the registration number from enforcement cameras and traffic wardens.

According to the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, it is an offence to fail to display a number plate, for it to be obscured, or for it to be “rendered, or allowed to become, not easily distinguishable.” If you are caught with these devices fitted to your vehicle, you could face charges of perverting the course of justice and up to two years in prison.

When you buy personalised number plates from CarReg, you can be sure that they comply with all current UK legislation. Start the search for your ideal plates today.