Drivers warned of four driving laws as number plate changes launch today

Motorists have been reminded of four driving laws as number plate changes come into effect from this morning. The DVLA’s new ‘73’ plates launch today and will be fitted on all newly registered vehicles.

However, amid the excitement of the new designs, road users may forget four simple rules which could see them caught out.

Chris Jevons, sales and marketing manager at JTape said it was vital motorists “brush up” on their knowledge of the key rules.

He explained: “With the latest ’73 plates about to launch in September, it’s as good a time as any to brush up on the licence plate rules and regulations.

“The last thing anybody wants is to be caught out for breaking some rules, especially if there are a few new or different ones you’re not aware of.”

Number plate background

Drivers must make sure they display the number plates on the correct side of the vehicle at all times. The front plate must have a white background while the rear plate needs to have a yellow background.

According to JTape, this is “one of the biggest number plate rules” drivers need to know before getting behind the wheel.

Jevons added: “This is by no means a new rule since it’s been enforced for all vehicles made after January 1, 1973, however, it’s still one to be aware of when purchasing new plates or going for customisations.”


Drivers must make sure there is the correct spacing between the letters on their number plate to avoid being hit with a fine of up to £1,000. Meanwhile, drivers could even fail an MOT test if their number plate spacing is deemed to be incorrect.

Jevson explained: “Spacing and visibility is also a major rule and one that many motorists that DIY their licence plates are caught out over. 

“The numbers and letters must be exactly 79mm in height, and a decent amount of space should be left between the numbers marking the manufacture year and the three characters at the end.”

Dirty number plate

Motorists must make sure their number plate is clearly visible at all times for law enforcement purposes. Drivers with a dirty plate can be slapped with an on-the-spot £100 fine which could rise to £1,000 in some circumstances.

According to Parkers, a dirty plate can also make drivers more likely to be a victim of motoring crime.

Number plate lettering

Drivers must follow specific rules around number plate lettering at all times. Some modified designs may not be allowed with drivers likely to be slapped with heavy charges if they are caught.

Jevson commented: “Modified plates are popular among motorists, but according to new rules, only solid black lettering is allowed. This means that 3D plates with different coloured shadows or backing can’t be fixed to any car being driven on UK roads.

“3D OR 4D-effect licence plates with black lettering are still allowed, but any other colours could land you a hefty fine if the correct spacing isn’t used.”