From September 1st, 2001, the DVLA introduced a new law stating that all number plates had to use a compulsory font in the UK. The law was created in order to make number plates easier to read for police and speed cameras in case of illegal activity and car theft. If you are caught with an illegal font on your number plate you could face a fine of up to £1000 and your vehicle will automatically fail its MOT test. All vehicles must meet the DVLA’s standards.
Which font is used?
Many vehicles in the UK were previously using the ‘Charles Wright’ font for number plates, and it is now the updated version known as ‘Charles Wright New’ which is compulsory on vehicles. The font is named after its original designer and is well known to drivers across the UK.
Size and Spacing
On a legal UK number plate, the font is monospaced, meaning that all of the characters except for I and 1 are of equal width and height. Throughout all measures of the number plate, the spacing has specific and strict rules in order to comply with the DVLA’s standards. It is essential that there is an 11mm gap between each of the characters and an 11mm gap from the characters go around the outside of the number plate. The gap in the middle of the number plate should be 33mm in width.
The characters themselves have to be 50mm wide and 79mm tall, with the thickness of the characters being 14mm. These specific regulations mean that any measurements outside of this range make the plate illegal and you can, therefore, be fined a large sum.
If you have a private number plate with a different one to the one stated above then it may be possible that it is an illegal font, as only two are legal in the UK. The ‘Charles Wright’ and the 3-D effect version of this font. Although in the past, other fonts in different styles such as italic, carbon and Highline were all acceptable, they are now illegal and must be replaced for the compulsory font.
Likewise, additional elements cannot be added to the vehicle and it must agree with the DVLA standards. This means that only the allotted amount of characters, flag and borders can be placed on a plate. Additional signs such as football team badges, or your company logo cannot be added to the plate.
Other signs of illegal number plates include having a plate with the wrong colours. The font of your number plate must be black with a white background on the front plate and yellow background on the back. This is so that the characters are clear and easy to read.
When you’re purchasing a private number plate it is essential that you take note of the information on compulsory fonts for number plates to make sure that you don’t accidentally buy an illegal one which can cause you problems. NewReg.co.uk is an online private company that buy and sell privately used number of plates. On their website, they will ensure that illegal number plates are not for sale on their sight in order to stop any confusion. You must ensure that if you do have a private number plate, then you have all of the correct paperwork to go with it in order to prove that it’s legal.
Next time it comes to buying your own private number plate, you have the knowledge necessary to make sure that you won’t be scammed into buying an illegal number plate.