Are 3D Plates and 4D Plates Legal in 2023?

That’s one of the biggest questions we get asked you know!

So 2021 saw a number of unfounded concerns about the ongoing legality of 3D and 4D plates gain traction as the DVLA revisited their rules. The custom plate industry received lots of questions about what the changes meant.

Hot on the heels of the September 2021 changes came ANOTHER set of requirements in March 2022 so…

We understand that many people have found this confusing and have wondered if now a good time is to invest in 3D or 4D plates.

Let us put your minds at rest!

Here we will look at all things LEGAL & ILLEGAL when it comes to your custom number plate, whether it’s a 3D Number Plate or 4D number plate

So we’ve all seen the video of the police officer talking about the 3D/4D plates laws in 2021.

We get these questions on a daily basis and understand your concern about the legalities in regards to your plates and the future of the custom plate industry…

The short answer is YES. 3D plates and 4D plates are still legal. You can breathe a sigh of relief. Currently, characters on a number plate can be 3D, so long as you meet the below criteria…

Number Plate Clinic

Your Rundown of 3D and 4D Plate Requirements!

● The number plate’s material MUST be reflective
● There MUST be NO background pattern
● Front number plate letters MUST be black on white
● The rear number plate letters MUST be black on yellow
● Number plate characters MUST be of a specific size and height:
● All the number plate characters MUST be 79mm tall
● Spaces between number plate characters MUST be 11mm
● The strokes on these black characters MUST be 14mm thick
● All number plate characters MUST be 55mm wide, except for the number 1 or letter I
● There are other rules regarding character spacing and margins, which you can find in the DVLA’s INF104 leaflet.

BUT, since 1 September 2021, there have been certain differences between what is or isn’t permitted depending on physical plate codes.

How Number Plate Codes Affect Number Plate Rules

The BSAU code on a number plate shows what standard the plate has been manufactured to:

  • BSAU 145d codes apply to plates manufactured BEFORE 1 September 2021
  • BSAU 145e codes apply to plates manufactured AFTER 1 September 2021.
  • The old rules will continue to apply to BSAU 145d coded plates, BUT new rules will apply to BSAU 145e coded plates.

Since September 2021, it’s been a requirement to check your number plate code to see if your number plate design is still within the rules. This applies to 3D and 4D number plates too.

If your number plates were road legal at the time of purchase, they’ll still be legal providing they display the BSAU 145d code on the plate itself.

If you have a number plate made AFTER 1 September 2021, it will display the BS145e code and must follow the new DVLA rules.

Why You Should Consider 3D Plates

What changed for Number Plates in March 2022?

Three key changes came into force in March 2022 building on the number plate rules introduced in September 2021. These are:

  • Solid black font

To allow for easier vehicle identification by Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems, plates must have a solid black font. This, in effect, outlaws plates with 2D two-tone font that gives the impression of being 3D. Genuine raised 3D lettering is still permitted.

  • Plate durability

Plates now need to pass durability and toughness tests including an abrasion test. They have to be able to withstand grit, road salt and other debris while remaining readable. A  BS AU 145e plate subjected to consistent force, as long as the adhesive pads are correctly placed, should take a minimum of 160 hours to remove.

  • Extra information

Newly registered plates are now required to display the supplier’s name and postcode, the BS AU 145e code and the name of the plate manufacturer.

Why UK Number Plates Are Different Colours

Every country across the world has its own system of car registration. Everything differs from the procedure of the entire registration process to the documents required, and amazingly, there are also differences in uk number plates style and colour. If you are very current, you would have noticed that India does not use the same number plate colour as France. And it goes on like that from one country to the other. Even among the same European countries, there are slight differences. 

If you want to drive on the road in the UK, your vehicle must feature the two uk number plate colours. You will affix a yellow number plate with black characters on it at the rear of your car, while the one you fix at the front must be a white plate with still black characters on it. Any other colour combination aside from the aforementioned is unlawful and can attract a huge fine. If you are very current, you would have noticed that India does not use the same number plate colour as France. And it goes on like that from one country to the other. Even among the same European countries, there are slight differences. 

For instance, the French number plate, though it looks very much like the one used in the UK, differs from having black characters on white plates, and that is what the car owners place at the front and back of their vehicle. However, in the UK, it is two different colours – Yellow and white.

Custom Number Plates
Number Plate Clinic

What Happens If You Get Caught Without A Front Number Plate?

You could be fined up to £1,000 and your car will probably fail its MOT test
It is a legal requirement to display a front number plate on your vehicle. If you are caught driving without one, you could face a hefty fine and your car may fail its MOT test. Find out more about the penalties for not having a front number plate and how to avoid getting caught.Lets not get a penalty for no front number plate

If you get caught driving in the UK without a number plate, under the new proposal, you will get three penalty points on your licence, and you will also be asked to pay a one hundred pounds fine. Don’t be surprised; that’s what any driver with an obscured or missing number plate gets after violating the law. 

Keep Up with Number Plate Changes

The world of number plates keeps on changing.

Keep up with the latest number plate developments by following us on Instagram and Facebook.

We advice you purchase the correct road legal style for you car.

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