Are Darkened Car Number Plate London Legal?

While the most common form of registrations on UK roads are acrylic plates in yellow and white with black characters, you may have come across some others.

Older models of cars sometimes sport black and silver plates while others add one of the UK’s national flags such as the St. George’s Cross or Union Jack.

Another car number plate London style you may have seen is a registration that appears darkened or tinted. Sometimes favoured by younger drivers, these plates can commonly be seen on cars with a degree of customization to tyre and bodywork.

No doubt, this type of registration has a unique style, but are darkened number plates legal?

Law of darkened number plates

Darkened number plates, sometimes referred to as smoked plates, are considered by many a grey area when it comes to being road legal. The darkened look of the plates can make the letters and numbers displayed less clear and harder to read, especially in poor light conditions.

Drivers breaking speed limits can sometimes evade police cameras and speed traps using these plates as they can not always be picked up by cameras.

3D and 4D number plates

Both 3D and 4D number plates are legal to use on UK roads providing they conform to all regulations. These styles of plate attach black gel-resin characters onto reflective plates, raising the letters and numbers from the background.

When such plates are darkened, it’s the reflective plate beneath that is smoked with the 3D or 4D characters popping out of the background.

It could be argued that the darkened effect on such plate types doesn’t interfere with how legible a registration is to the authorities and other motorists.

This is the case with 4D number plates. These registrations use black characters on white and yellow plates to keep to the law but also use a bright or fluorescent colour as backing to make them stand out more.

To ensure you end up being stopped by authorities, paying unwanted fines or failing the MOT test, it’s worth sticking to standard car number plate London on your vehicle.