Tinted number plates have caught on with some drivers looking for ways to make their vehicles stand out. But are these tinted number plates legal?

The DVLA requires that number plates are clear and easy to read. With the growth in the customisation of number plates, these regulations have taken on a greater significance.

You should always make sure when you choose to customise your plates that they’re still road legal.

What are the Number Plate Rules?

Tinted number plates are not road legal in the UK. You cannot have a standard number plate that’s tinted. Nor can you have a 3D or 4D tinted number plate.

When you drive in the UK, your number plate must be reflective so that it’s easy for others, including the police, to read. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras must also be able to read your number plate clearly.

A tinted plate will not meet these readability standards, making it illegal for use on the road.

DVLA rules on number plates state that:

  • A number plate must be made from a reflective material
  • The front plate must display black characters on a white background
  • The rear plate must display black characters on a yellow background
  • There must be no background pattern on the plate.

The rules do allow for three-dimensional, or raised, characters. Any raised characters on a plate fitted after 1 September 2021 must be a single shade of black.

What Makes Tinted Number Plates Illegal?

The DVLA has strict criteria for the reflectiveness of number plates. Any plate that does not meet these criteria is illegal for use on the road.

Tinted plates are less reflective than standard plates and therefore are illegal. This also applies to 3D and 4D tinted plates, even though the raised numbers are in front of the tinted background.

The darker background, in the DVLA’s view, makes it harder to see the individual characters.

By smoking or tinting your number plate, you run the risk of it no longer being road legal.

If you drive with number plates that the law sees as incorrectly displayed, you could face a fine of £1,000 and your vehicle could fail its MOT.

However, if you are looking for ways to customise your number plates and make them more individual, there are options that keep you on the right side of the law.

These options include 3D and 4D number plates. Browse our collection. For more information, please call us on 01204 534 333 or email [email protected]