Police officer raises fears illegal number plates may be ‘getting through’ MOT test

DVSA explains 2018 MOT test changes

Mark Anderson, spokesperson for Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, has revealed drivers claimed their plates passed their MOT test despite not following regulations. However, Mr Anderson warned drivers may be simply putting illegal plates back on their cars after a test to avoid being caught out during their yearly exam.

Experts say new MOT changes could play their part in stopping illegal plates by taking a picture of the vehicle when the exam is being carried out.

Mark Anderson, spokesperson for Sussex Safer Roads Partnership revealed “lots of cars” were found breaking number plate rules.

He said: “The main focus I’d like to get over today would be the number plate issues we are having. There are lots and lots of cars out there that have illegal number plates.

“I want to clarify if the drivers are changing those plates just to get the MOTs done and then put their illegal plates back on.

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“Or if they are actually getting through the MOTs with the illegal plates on.”

He added: “We go out every day and enforce the rules of the road and everyone who is stopped with number plates, the first thing they will say is ‘it got through the MOT just fine’.”

However, the DVSA has hit back against the allegations, saying testers do correctly fail vehicles with incorrect number plates. 

A DVSA spokersperson said:”We know MOT testers correctly fail vehicles with non-standard number plates. The national MOT failure data proves this.

“There is no incentive for an MOT tester to pass a non-standard number plate.

“DVSA takes strong action against any poor quality MOT tests which can include a ban from testing.”

According to GOV.UK drivers could be fined up to £1,000 for having incorrect number plates installed on their car.

The government says drivers will also fail their MOT test if they drive with incorrectly displayed registration plates.

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Any plate which does not comply with the DVLA’s strict regulations will break the law including detail on character spacing and the depth of each character.

The front plate must be white with black characters while the rear plate should be yellow with black lettering.

However, many road users have been caught with show plates on their vehicles despite these being not legally allowed on the road.

These can be purchased with any design and layout with prices starting from as little as £20.

Eric Smith, Head of MOT at KwikFit hunted connected technology could be the way to address concerns surrounding illegal number plates at MOT tests.

Connected technology puts the control at the hands of sophisticated tools which takes out issues surrounding human error and mechanics missing out on any illegal designs.

Mr Smith said: “The second you press ‘start MOT brake test’ it takes a picture of the vehicle in the roller brake tester.

“You can see the registration clearly, you can see that it’s a Volkswagen Golf and it’s red. So you know it’s that vehicle that has been on that roller.

“It not only states that you’ve now got the vehicle as being MOT’d in the site it takes out the unscrupulous people that they do an MOT test and they know their brakes are going to fail so they put another vehicle on the roller brake tester.

“They can’t do that with me because we put this picture on and we can go back and say no it was that vehicle which was in the site.

“We’ve also got a little thing going on with DVSA looking at working with Number plate recognition.”

Peter Lawton, an expert at the SMMT has also suggested the UK’s Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras could be used to hunt down number plate offenders.

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