Drivers could get points for number plate offences under proposed law

Owners of cars and motorcycles with an obscured or missing number plate could receive three points in addition to £100 fine under new proposals

Motorists whose vehicles have an obscured or missing number plate could be given three penalty points if a new private members bill becomes law.

The bill, which has been presented to the House of Commons by Conservative MP Andrew Griffith, would see drivers and motorcyclists whose number plates are obscured or missing hit with three points, in addition to the £100 fine they already face.

Griffith told the Commons that he arrived at the subject of his bill as a result of the “misery” inflicted on residents of rural villages in his constituency by antisocial drivers and motorcyclists. An Auto Express investigation last year proved how easy it is to buy cloned, banned or incorrectly spaced number plates from online traders, with none of the checks and balances required by law by authorised vendors.

The MP says his bill will close a “loophole” in the law, where speeding drivers receive penalty points, but those who commit number plate offences only face a fine. He added: “This enables antisocial drivers on our roads, especially in rural areas, to defy both speed and number plate recognition cameras with relative impunity.”

Enforcing the proposed law could, in theory, be done by ANPR (automatic number-plate recognition) cameras, which number in their thousands in the UK, and are capable of flagging alerts to operators if they are unable to read a plate. 

Motoring experts were quick to point out difficulties in the proposed law, though. Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, commented: “There are multiple areas that need to be addressed with this bill. Most importantly, we need more cops in cars to catch these drivers with illegal plates in the first place. Often the cars are involved in other crimes.

“Registration plates can be stolen from the cars of innocent drivers or bought online without any ownership checks. Likewise, plates can be made with illegal fonts and sizes. More must be done here to stop the ease with which plates can be cloned and printed.

“All too often, it is those innocent drivers who uncover the crime and then take the rap for other offences they haven’t committed - when they start receiving fines for those offences.”

Check out the banned car number plate deemed too rude for the road...

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