It’s March, which means that it’s time for the new registration plate.  We love it as it’s a great way to keep the grandkids entertained on the motorway with a game of ‘who can spot the most new cars?”, whilst they frantically look for all ‘24’ plate cars!  And then we get to repeat it when we get the ‘74’ plate in September 2024.

Whilst not everyone is as excited at the thought of a new number plate issue, it is important that we all understand the rules around them if we want ensure number plate compliance.

Where do Number Plates have to be Displayed?

All vehicles MUST display a number plate at both the front and back of the vehicle which match.  The only exception is a may do without the front plate.

What are the rules on how Number Plates should look?

Number Plates must be legible and kept clean.  Believe it or not, they also have to be printed in a set font – it’s called Charles Wright apparently!

The characters must be correctly spaced as shown below (playing with the spacing so that the number plates spell out words is a big no-no!).


UK format yellow number plate showing the regulation dimensions to ensure number plate compliance

The potential consequences of not following the rules:

Many people are unaware that a vehicle can fail its MOT if their Number Plate doesn’t meet the rules and they could face a fine of up to £1000 if they are stopped by the police for not correctly displaying a registration plate.

Reasons that the Number Plate could result in MOT failure:


(a) Number plate missing or so insecure that it is likely to fall off
(b) Number plate inscription missing or illegible
(c) Number plate showing an incorrect registration
(d) Number plate does not conform to the specified requirements


All of the above are classed as Major defects at MOT and would result in failure…and no one wants that!

Why does this matter to MOT Testers?

All MOT testers should be familiar with the rules for Number Plate compliance and ensure that they apply them carefully or the driver won’t be the only one getting into bother – a total of are available to the tester who fails to check the condition and security of the Number Plate.

If you’re an MOT Tester – make sure you keep up to date with the rules by checking on the MOT Guide.  More info for drivers can be found here